And the wins keep on coming.
At what point is it okay to start dreaming again?
Dreaming of what I’m not quite sure – because the journey is infinitely more enjoyable than the prize itself – but I’ve started to anyway.
How can you not?
Sky’s commentary team did their best to make this one sound like something resembling a contest, and I guess Harry Wilson lumping the ball onto the head of Sean Morrison did offer a goal threat for Cardiff, but that was it. Literally just that.
That Messrs Mann and Goodman were able to squeeze so much time air time out of that singular route to goal was quite the skill.
But this was teetering towards Championship masterclass territory, especially the second 45, after Neil Harris had realigned his battle plan to include a high press.
Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell deservedly grabbed most of the headlines – both were simply outstanding – but that shouldn’t detract from what was an all-round team performance as cohesive as anything we’ve seen this season.
There was an assuredness and swagger on display that won’t have gone unnoticed by the other 23. Even in those early minutes, when the passing was measured, precise but, as a result, a bit laboured, confidence still oozed from every pore.
They knew, while no doubt respecting the threat the Bluebirds were going to offer (at set-pieces – Sky Sports™), that if they stuck to the plan, worked hard and were patient, chances would eventually come their way.
And they did. Lots of them.
We’ve all been saying for a while that someone, someday is going to get a real walloping. Well, yesterday, with a Teemu Pukki on board who’d had some sleep, could very easily have been that day.
(Congratulations to the Pukki family but the way).
As it happened, two was enough but Harris, Mann, Goodman and everyone else who happened to watch the game will know that Cardiff got away with one. And let’s not forget, these were opponents who had won five of their last six games.
With Bournemouth dropping two points at Kenilworth Road and Watford losing at Huddersfield (and subsequently sacking their manager), we were reminded of the size of the task of bouncing back from Premier League disappointment, so there is something doubly impressive about the way this group has responded to the summer overhaul and the way Farke and Stuart Webber have reinvented a squad that was on its knees as recently as July.
The technical progression has taken a few months to fully get up and running, but the cohesion I spoke of earlier has become increasingly evident over the last week. Farkeball 4.0 is now in full flow.
Such is the excellence of the coaching at Colney, it was only a matter of time before the new faces would get fully integrated into the Farke way but the really tricky bit was to overhaul the thinking; to replace a losing mentality with a winning one.
And that, for me, remains Team Farke’s greatest achievement. For the silky passing to flow and for it to produce the beautiful football we’ve come to expect, requires a positive mindset and clear heads – collectively and individually.
I’ve no idea how they managed it, but managed it they have. The pain that most of us still feel when the mind flicks to Project Restart is inevident in the Class of 2021, even those who were at the heart of that relegation campaign.
The focus is totally on what can happen rather than what has happened and the result has been the most pleasant of diversions from what’s occurring all around us.
These are tough times. Unbelievably tough. And the messages that emerged from Whitehall and Downing Street in the hours that followed yesterday’s win were sobering in the extreme.
That I woke up this morning thinking of what I could write about a football match rather than the humanitarian disaster that continues to unfold all around us, merely confirms the place this football club has in my life and in all our lives.
Let’s cling onto it. We have a football club to be proud. And they’ll help us through this.
Never Mind the Danger.