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Mackay happy with the winning start as he looks to Bluebirds future with their change of attitude.

Byline: Terry Phillips

CARDIFF CITY 1 GESTADE 25 * ORE than 100 Cardiff City fans greeted Malky Mackay and his Bluebirds for their opening pre-season match against Charlton Athletic in Spain last night.

French trialist Rudy Gestade fired the only goal of the match and manager Mackay said: "To keep a clean sheet and earn the win against a hard-working Charlton team who played really well in beating Bristol City earlier in the week is a good start.

"Considering the heat and a bumpy pitch, I am delighted."

Mackay sent out a first-half team and then changed all 11 players for the second 45 minutes.

Then he gathered the whole squad together with staff in the centre of the pitch after the final whistle, saying: "I spoke to them about the amount of work they have put in over this week despite the intense heat. "I am proud of the attitude and the effort of every one of them. That hard work showed because overall we were a little bit sharper than Charlton.

"The fans, too, played their part. They came to a little town deep in southern Spain and got behind their team. They are passionate about their club and I knew that about Cardiff fans before I became manager."

The Cardiff City party fly back from Seville to the UK today and have tomorrow off before resuming work at their Vale of Glamorgan Resort training ground on Monday. Two days later the Bluebirds are at home against Celtic in their second pre-season match.

Mark Hudson, during the first half, and new signing Aron Gunnarsson, after the break, wore the captain's armband, but Mackay said: "There is no real significance in that. They are both experienced senior pros, but no decisions have been made yet.

"There were 12 players who left the squad over the close season and we still need to strengthen. We really need another two or three bodies." Mackay has now been Cardiff City manager for a month and he's shaken up everything at the club.

"It's been fast-paced and there has been an awful lot of change in all sorts of areas including the squad and staff," said Mackay. "I am bringing my ideas to Cardiff and everybody has played their part over the first month.

"If everybody, including directors who have already backed us to bring in players, push in one direction we can make good progress."

Mackay has revamped the coaching set-up, added seven new players including French trialist Gestade and has quickly instilled a new way of thinking. He believes everybody - players, fans, staff and all who back Cardiff City - are in this together.

There will be a strong team ethic this season, on and off the pitch. Mackay is keen to build a rapport with supporters.

The new manager was loud, animated and agitated on the sidelines at Coria del Rio Stadium in southern Spain. He raised a clenched fist in recognition of the support from fans as he strode along the side of the pitch.

It was a hot and humid evening at the 5,000 capacity stadium next to the Guadalquivir river.

The Bluebirds set up 4-4-2 with Hudson and first-year professional Alex Evans in the central defensive positions. Peter Whittingham and Solomon Taiwo played through the centre of midfield with Gestade and Robert Earnshaw in attack.

Former FC Metz striker Gestade, 22, is 6ft 4ins tall and looked a threat against Charlton.

He found the net with a volley, but was caught just offside, and then fired the Bluebirds ahead on 25 minutes. He found space just outside the penalty area and scored with a fierce, low drive.

That was the only goal of the opening 45 minutes and the Bluebirds were good value for the lead, although Matt Pritchard hit the bar for Charlton.

By the end, Cardiff City had kept a clean sheet which, although it doesn't mean a lot at this stage of preparation, it's a decent way to start.

Earnshaw produced some good early moments and almost scored when he spun away from a defender and drove in a shot from 20 yards which deflected off a defender and flew away for a corner.

That came moments after he had slipped two tackles on the edge of the penalty area and, finding his way to goal blocked, slipped a pass wide for Peter Whittingham.

The far-post cross picked out Gestade and his downward header was saved.

Cardiff City, wearing white shirts, blue shorts and white socks, changed their line-up completely for the second half.

All six of Cardiff's new signings plus trialist Gestade were given a run in this first pre-season match. Charlton, who had already played and won twice, included two new signings in striker Bradley Wright-Phillips, and right-back Miguel Victor Diaz, a former Real Oviedo defender.

Defender Anthony Gerrard and goalkeeper David Marshall were the only players with the squad in Spain who didn't play. Gerrard arrived late at the training camp because of a family bereavement, while Marshall rested a minor wrist problem as a precaution.

Jon Parkin and first-year pro Nat Jarvis led the attack after the break with Joe Mason playing a deeper role behind them. Both sides will have benefitted from a tough workout, while keeper Santiago will be delighted with his last-ditch save when Bradley Wright-Phillips broke clear. Santiago stood tall and timed his move to perfection as he blocked with his feet.

That maintained Cardiff's clean sheet and was a key moment in a sweet victory.

Cardiff City first half: T Heaton, K McNaughton, L Naylor, S Taiwo, M Hudson, A Evans, A Wildig, P Whittingham, R Gestade, R Earnshaw, C Conway. Cardiff City second half: J Santiago (gk), D Blake, A Taylor, D Keinan, N Jarvis, A Gunnarsson, I Farah, Gyepes, D Cowie, J Mason, J Parkin. Charlton Athletic: Sullivan, Diaz, Taylor, Morrison, Jackson, Pritchard, Bover-Izquierdo, Wagstaff, Benson, Williams, Wright-Phillips.

Subs: Doherty, Solly, Andersen, Wiggins, Green, Stephens, Davisson, Hayes, Williams, Elliot, Hollands.

Referee: Barea Gonzalez (Spain).

CAPTION(S):

* Goalscorer Rudy Gestade * Malky Mackay was happy with his first game in charge of Cardiff as the Bluebirds defeated Charlton in last night's pre-season opener in Spain
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Jul 16, 2011
Words:1029
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