Ex-Millwall boss on ambitious aims for Cardiff City and whether playing style will change

NEIL Harris insists he has "recharged the batteries" and says the play-offs are the aim for his new Cardiff City side.  

The former Millwall boss, who was named Neil Warnock's replacement on Friday, took training for the first time on Monday morning with his assistant Dave Livermore before speaking to the local press.

Harris said he wanted his Bluebirds team to be "wholehearted and aggressive" after he was asked about his playing principles.

"What you're referring to is the club previously and the way we played [at Millwall], getting the ball forward quickly. Some principles I will stick to, some I want to adjust now," Harris explained.

"How I've come through as a coach I want to stick to some of them. I don't think there is a Neil Warnock mark II. I will be respectful to the players I've got.

"There has to be a process of change, it won't be overnight. I want to adjust the mindset of the players, not just one style of play.

"A top-six finish is ultimately the aim. I won't make any promises because we have to earn the right. It's not easy when you come out of the Premier League to get there. You get fans over by winning games of football and being yourself."

Harris outlined his immediate aims: "To get to know the players, meet all the staff and try to get across my principles in a short space of time.

"It's a tough week because we've got players away and we have to prepare for the three games next week. I'm new to the job and to the area, the change is vast. I know the principles of the fans, I've played here myself.

"I'm a different person to Neil, younger and a different way of working. Different schedule and training methods, so the players will have to get on board with that quickly.

"On the pitch, you have to work with the players you've got at your disposal straight away and guide them. You can't go from being Millwall, Cardiff City to Manchester City overnight. I want to maximise a good group of players.

"Off the field is to manage with humility. When I went to Millwall in my first job, I had to build relations between the terraces and the football pitch, academy and the first team and try to bring it all together.

"There's been a wonderful recent history at this club, for everybody. So I will bring humility to the club, huge energy and excitement about the group.

"Principles on the pitch, to be the manager the same way I played. Wholehearted, aggressive, passing the ball, getting it forward at the right times. Working with a group of players who have been recruited previously, it's not a revolution overnight. We want to be an aggressive team.

"It's a privilege to be here. A great opportunity. I left Millwall seven weeks ago and recharged the batteries. This is a wonderful job to come into, following Neil who did a fantastic job here. I've got a wonderful group of players who have achieved individually and collectively.

"I'm here to win games of football. Results dictate longevity in football management. The board want to be successful. I want to climb the table as quickly as possible.

"I have huge energy. It's a wonderful club. I've loved every time I've played at Cardiff City. I like to win and that's important to me."

Harris was also asked about the underwhelming reaction of some Cardiff fans to his appointment.

He said: "I know that's football, I'm a huge football fan myself, everyone wants a big name who's won the World Cup, or the Premier League and I understand that.

"I come from a club that's at a slightly different level to the one Cardiff is at. I have to win people over, and I'm prepared to do that. What won't change is my mentality or my work ethic, the fact that I'll always do what I feel is best for Cardiff.

"I've played at Ninian Park, and against a lot of Cardiff teams, they want to see their players have a go, and I can promise them that we won't fall short of competing and trying our best."

"I'm moving to the area. I saw Ryan Giggs last night and he wished me all the best. Getting to know the area is vital to me and being part of the community."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly