For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for match stats click on the stats tab. Manager reaction to follow
Jay Rodriguez scored twice as Southampton beat Cardiff City 3-0 to earn their first Barclays Premier League win in seven matches. The Englishman took his tally for the season to nine in all competitions with a quick-fire first-half double at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Things took a turn for the worse for Cardiff as Rickie Lambert completed a comfortable triumph for Southampton before half-time. There was no way back for Cardiff in the second half and Mackay's side have now won one of their last eight top-flight matches.
Cardiff were without Gary Medel through illness, with Fraizer Campbell deputising, while Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino introduced Luke Shaw, Maya Yoshida and Jose Fonte into his back four after the 3-2 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur.
Rodriguez tried to set the early tempo for the visitors with a dangerous run forward but was stopped in his tracks by Kevin Theophile-Catherine. The hosts spurned an opportunity to take the lead in the 11th minute when Peter Whittingham failed to convert Craig Noone's cross with the goal gaping.
They were made to pay for that miss when Rodriguez struck twice in six minutes to put Southampton in the driving seat. The first arrived after 14 minutes. Adam Lallana sprung the offside trap before teeing up Rodriguez for a simple finish.
Lambert laid on the second with a pinpoint cross that Rodriguez turned home from inside the box without breaking stride. The England striker got in on the act himself before the half-hour mark with a close-range finish, capitalising on Cardiff's poor defending of a short corner.
Paulo Gazzaniga was called into action at the other end when Whittingham's shot deflected off Fonte, forcing the Argentinian into an excellent reflex save. The Saints goalkeeper almost undid that good work with a poor clearance a minute later but Campbell could not make the most of his chance.
Mackay introduced Andreas Cornelius in place of Peter Odemwingie at the break and the hosts came out fighting. Campbell headed narrowly over from a corner and Cornelius' effort forced Gazzaniga into a scrambled save.
Rodriguez was denied his hat-trick by Theophile-Catherine's goal-line clearance in the closing 20 minutes as Cardiff's hopes faded. Despite a much-improved second-half display from the hosts, they are left looking over their shoulders heading into Saturday's match with fellow strugglers Sunderland.
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay: "I have belief in my ability to be the manager here and I'm standing strong to make sure if it's anything to do with me and my staff we'll make sure we stay in this league. It's certainly very important that we stop washing our dirty linen in public.
"Our fans have been seen in a great light this season. The atmosphere; the friendliness; the way they're conducting themselves around the country is something they should be proud of and it's not great when we're on the front pages as opposed to the back pages. I truly hope for our fans' sake that they're able to enjoy the rest of this Premier League season.
"I'm not making any excuses. People can draw their own conclusions but myself, the staff and the players are fully focused on what we do. We gave away three poor goals and we can't do that against a good team. It was unlike us. We can't give ourselves that mountain to climb but we can't give cheap goals away."
Southampton head coach Mauricio Pochettino: "I think overall we had an amazing game, we were precise in their half, we put in an amazing shift. We fully deserved the result. In the previous few games we played well but the results did not come our way.
"We maintained out style and the way we want to play but the results did not come our way. We've been going through a tough period in terms of illness and injuries so to get that win was very important. We were superior, we played very well and we deserved the win."
|11 Jan 2014||v West Ham (H)|
|08 Mar 2014||v Fulham (H)|
|15 Mar 2014||v Everton (A)|
|11 May 2014||v Chelsea (H)|
|03 May 2014||v Newcastle (A)|
|28 Jan 2014||v Man Utd (A)|