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Cardiff blow chance of automatic promotion

Cardiff crashed 3-0 at home to Middlesbrough and with it their chance of automatic promotion to the Premiership. Bluebirds boss Dave Jones apologised to the fans after the Welsh outfit found themselves 3-0 down after just 20 minutes.

Cardiff must now face another run through the play-offs, unless the FA hand out a substantial points deduction to QPR over their purchase of Alejandro Faurlin in 2009.

"We didn't perform in the first half, the first two goals are schoolboy goals to give away," he said.

"Then we lost our discipline and people were running all over the shop. We just needed to get them in (the dressing room) and settle them down and regroup, but unfortunately we conceded the third.

"I can only apologise to our fans and I am sure the players will reiterate that.

"We just didn't turn up and it's not often I can say that about this group. Whether the nerves or expectation got to them, I don't know. But I think it was just poor defending as a team from front to back."

Jones however did take exception to the suggestion his team could not handle the pressure.

"We've been there and we have been trying really hard for three seasons and within that we have been selling our best players and I don't think it's right to say that (we are chokers), because I don't agree with it.

"This club has a lot to be proud of because we keep bouncing back.

" Two clubs (Sheffield United and Preston) have just been relegated from this division who have been in the play-offs recently, so to talk about choking is not the right thing to say about my players at this moment in time because I think that's a load of c**p.

"It's very raw at the moment and it's not the best time to be asking me that."

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray was delighted but admits he does not know how many of his squad will be at the Riverside next season as he looks to trim the wage bill.

He said: "We scored four in our last away game at Hull so this was no surprise to me. The most pleasing aspect was the clean sheet was we have not kept too many of them recently and we saw the game out comfortably enough in the end.

"We will have to wait and see what the summer brings, it's common knowledge we have to reduce the wage bill dramatically.

"The chairman has said that Cardiff and QPR's wage bills combined are not as big as ours.

"But there are some talented young players here that are not affecting our wage bill."

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Dave Williams

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