South Wales derby: Swans boss Duff 'wrong' to downplay game, says Cardiff's McGuinness

Mark McGuinness
Mark McGuinness joined Cardiff City from Arsenal in 2021

Cardiff City defender Mark McGuinness says Swansea City head coach Michael Duff was "wrong" to play down the significance of the south Wales derby.

Duff said earlier this month that he would "rather win promotion and get beat by Cardiff twice" than win his first derby in charge on Saturday.

Swansea have won the past four derbies, having become the first team to win the league fixture twice in one season.

"This game is important for everyone," said McGuinness.

"I think he [Duff] is wrong in that sense. Obviously everyone wants to get promoted but this, for the fans and players here, it does mean a lot.

"If that's his philosophy then that's his philosophy, but I'm sure the [Swansea] fans won't be happy with that one.

"It's always a big game for us and we enjoy playing these big games. We've had a tough few games leading up to it but we all know what these games mean. We are all looking forward to it."

Cardiff have not won a south Wales derby since March 2021 but have enjoyed a better start to this season in the Championship than the winless Swans.

And although the Bluebirds have only won one of their five league games to date, the promising displays under new manager Erol Bulut have been a major improvement on last season's performance levels when Cardiff came close to relegation.

Bulut, who like Duff was appointed this summer, has experience of playing and coaching in some of the most hostile derby atmospheres in the world having managed Turkish giants Fenerbahce against their Istanbul rivals.

"I've had a few derbies in my career - 20 years as a professional, seven as a manager. At Fenerbahce, too, I know derbies well," Bulut said.

"As a player and a manager, when you sign for a club and play derbies, you don't need to get it explained from someone else just how important a derby is.

Cardiff boss Erol Bulut
Cardiff boss Erol Bulut has played or managed in countries such as Turkey, Germany and Greece

"When you sign as a coach, you should know how to handle it and how to go on the field.

"I can tell you only one thing: Saturday, in the stadium, on the field, we will be a team. I don't need to tell them, they know it already."

Asked directly about Duff's comments on the derby, Bulut responded: "I would like to get promoted and win twice!

"I was told as a manager to always go for the maximum, so we will try to go for this. The first step will be on Saturday."

In preparation for his first south Wales derby, Bulut has been spending time with Cardiff supporters to get a better sense of this fixture's significance.

"Fans know better than me," he said. "Two weeks ago I was in the city centre, I was in a pub with Cardiff fans.

"So I understood it really well, what the derby means. The pub was good - a lot of blue shirts around me.

"On Saturday we hope we will make things different to the last years.

"We need to be aggressive. Fans will be aggressive, shouting and supporting us - but we have to be calm and be clever.

"We trained in the last few days and trained for this. I think my team and my players know what is going on Saturday."