MACKAY: PLAY-OFF TIE NOT OVER
Cardiff manager Malky Mackay knows his squad still possess sufficient self-belief to overcome West Ham in their npower Championship play-off semi-final.
The Bluebirds are heavy underdogs after going down 2-0 to a Jack Collison brace at the Cardiff City Stadium in Thursday's first-leg.
Ahead of the Upton Park return, most observers expect this year's Carling Cup finalists to be nursing play-off disappointment for the third consecutive season, but Mackay - a play-off winner during his time as a player with both West Ham and Watford - believes there is life in the tie yet.
"Most people may now expect West Ham to make it through to the final - that could be a natural reaction I suppose," he told cardiffcityfc.co.uk.
"But myself and the team don't subscribe to that. We go into Monday afternoon trying to win the game.
"We have 90 minutes to score twice and, beyond that, to win the game.
"Right now we have a fighter's chance."
Something Mackay does subscribe to is the view that 2-0 can be a deceptively fragile advantage over the course of a two-legged contest, and he places huge onus on the first goal in tomorrow's Bank Holiday showdown.
"We need to score, not necessarily early on, but we need to score first," he said.
"If we do that then we get a toe hold back in the game again.
"We need to make sure we are disciplined going into the game. We can't have a tendency to go gung-ho from the first minute.
"People might think and want to go for it from the off, but we need to make sure that we're in the game.
"We know it's a stiff test, we understand that. But it's still only half-time. We've got to go there and ease our way into the game, looking to nick the first goal, which could prove important.
"It'll once again be down to who adapts best to the game and who takes their chances.
"On Thursday they did and we didn't."
Mackay was a West Ham player in the 2004/05 season and his time in east London leads him to expect a highly-charged atmosphere.
"I'm sure there'll be a fantastic atmosphere, I know from my time there as a player they've got a fantastic set of fans," he added speaking to Wales on Sunday.
"It'll be a tough atmosphere but I'll certainly be trying to give our fans something to cheer.
"All my focus is on us trying to get to the play-off final and that's not done yet.
"The scoreline obviously makes it more difficult at the moment but it's something that's certainly can be rescued.
"We'll be desperately trying to do it for our club and our fans."
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