Bluebirds must now build on Sunday's performance

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In retrospect, Sunday's performance against Sheffield Utd should be viewed as a mixture of the good, the bad and just a little of the ugly. 

There was enough positives on show though to think that if we can keep the players Cardiff have (and with the promise of the purchase of fresh new faces before the end of August) they can indeed be a force to be reckoned with this season.

There were certainly flashes of "the good" at the weekend.

At times we saw some of that free flowing passing and speed of movement, that when it happens, makes the City the most attractive team in the division to watch.

The defence was well organised and solid for the vast majority of the match, with excellent overlapping runs from the two full backs.

David Marshall definitely looked sound in goal and pulled off two exceptional saves. He acquitted himself really well too at corners when United initially tried to pressurise him into making mistakes by surrounding and jostling him with their bigger players.

The goal, too, was very good, with Michael Chopra turning provider for Jay Bothroyd.

However, there were several instances during the match which fall into "the bad" category.

Firstly, the manner in which Sheffield United scored will have irritated both players and fans alike. The team's confidence seemed to vanish after the goal was conceded, but they did well to fight back and force an equaliser.

Also, somewhat disappointingly, the structured plans outlined by Dave Jones prior to kick off were not quite executed. With the experience the majority of team has of playing together, they should by now have learnt to be much more robust and resilient mentally in the face of adversity.

However, this could be attributed to some early season rustiness, and Cardiff certainly have the experience and personnel to turn it around next week at Derby. 

Now, for "the ugly", although maybe "ugly" is a bit of an exaggeration. But it always worrying when players en masse launch into a general melee of pushing and shoving; which followed the sending off of Matthew Lowton.

Cardiff do not have a big squad, so it is vital that bookings and sendings off are kept to the absolute minimum. So good discipline, even in the face of provocation, is not something the manager cannot overstress to the players.

Dave Jones and the coaching staff will be keen to address most of these issues now; developing and encouraging the good, identifying and attempting to iron out - or at least seek to minimise - the bad, and most definitely strongly warn against the ugly.

Now is the time to do this - later will be just that - too late.

If together as a unit they are able to do these things effectively then there is little reason why a good season shouldn't lie ahead.

What happens on the training ground in the next two or so weeks is going to be pivotal and what happens subsequently throughout the remainder of the season will, to a great degree, be decided now.

It's an important time of year for the team and the club's future.

*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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