Following Cardiff’s devastating defeat to Chelsea on Sunday, it didn’t get any easier for Neil Warnock’s side.
The Bluebirds’ boss was rightly furious at the manner of Cardiff’s loss with Cesar Azpilicueta being two yards offside when he equalised with five minutes remaining.
Next up was Cardiff was a trip to title-chasing Manchester City.
Warnock had threatened to play his Under 23 side at the Etihad with a massive relegation six-pointer against Burnley on the horizon.
Warnock did end up playing his strongest side on Wednesday night but Cardiff fell to a 2-0 defeat.
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That’s not a bad scoreline considering they were 1-0 down after just six minutes.
And there was an element of fortune attached to the opener.
Kevin de Bruyne had got to the byline and his attempted cross found its way into the net at the near post.
Did he mean it?
Well, TV cameras caught Warnock getting Etheridge and De Bruyne together at full-time and ask that very question.
The Belgian midfielder was very honest, though, and insisted it was a fluke.
The three of them then burst out laughing with goalkeeper Etheridge admitting that De Bruyne had just saved him ‘a fine.’
“I said to him [Etheridge]: ‘It’s a pity about the goal, isn’t it?’ he said: ‘Gaffer, he didn’t mean it,’” Warnock revealed in his post-match press conference.
“Kevin was just going off the pitch, so I shouted to Kevin and said: ‘Tell me the truth, he says you didn’t mean it?’ He said he didn’t. He meant to cross it but the power was too much.”
Despite his mistake for City’s opener, Etheridge produced a brilliant performance in the second half to keep the scores down.
And Warnock admitted he was proud of his side’s display.
“I was just really proud,” he said. “When you concede as early as that, you fear the worst because they started like the Real Madrid of 10 years ago, didn’t they? They are so quick, everyone’s comfortable on the ball.
“The disappointment of the Chelsea game and the circumstances could have knocked a lot of teams. But they came to see Monday after I said about [playing] the Under-23s and they all wanted to play in this game.
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“I don’t think anybody in the bottom half of the table has much chance coming to the Etihad, to be honest,” he added. “They’ve improved so much now, I’ve not seen anything like this, I must say.”