Palace boss Freedman piles the pressure on Cardiff’s bottlers

CRYSTAL PALACE manager Dougie Freedman has risked a Cardiff backlash by depicting the Welsh side as “nearly men” ahead of tonight’s Carling Cup semi final second leg.

Under previous manager Dave Jones, Cardiff wasted several promising positions in the league to miss out on automatic promotion to the Premier League and have failed in the play-offs in each of the last two seasons.

Now under the guidance of Malky MacKay the Bluebirds are again handily placed in the Championship, but their path to a third Wembley visit in four years has been complicated by Antony Gardner’s first leg goal which has put Palace within touching distance of reaching their first cup final of any sort in 22 years.

“I think they are under more pressure to succeed,” said Freedman. “In the play-off games they have always been a nearly team, nearly getting there. We are just enjoying ourselves and nobody thought we’d get here.”