Solskjaer at a low ebb as Cardiff go down
Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described his side's relegation from the Premier League as the bleakest day of his illustrious career.
Solskjaer saw Cardiff drop back into the Championship on Saturday as their fate was sealed by a 3-0 defeat at Newcastle, coupled with Sunderland's unexpected 1-0 victory against Manchester United.
A Champions League and Premier League winner during a successful playing career at Manchester United, Solskjaer conceded that he had to take much of the responsibility for Cardiff's return to the second tier just 12 months after promotion, despite only being appointed midway through the season when many felt the damage had already been done at a club riven by internal politics.
"The realisation that we're down is hard to take," Solskjaer said.
"It's the lowest moment of my career and it's the same for many of my players.
"The threat of relegation has been lurking there for quite a while, but now comes the realisation.
"You've just got to face the facts, and I'll face the situation head-on.
"From a personal viewpoint, I didn't make the impact I'd hoped for and believed I would, and that's something for me to chew on now for a little while."
The Old Trafford legend insists now was not the time for recriminations, but revealed he is keen to sit down with owner Vincent Tan to conduct a thorough post-mortem into the season in a bid to ensure they are in a position to bounce straight back in 12 months' time.
"Now is not the time to reflect on what's gone on this season," Solskjaer said.
"When a team's at the bottom, there's many things that have gone against them, and there are things we've not managed to put in our favour both on and off the pitch.
"That needs a bigger evaluation than is possible just sitting here now. It's very disappointing, we're very low and the dressing room is a quiet place right now.
"It's not a nice feeling, but we've got to show we can bounce back."
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew had sympathy for his counterpart after the Magpies snapped a six-game losing streak to send the Welsh side down thanks to goals from Shola Ameobi, Loic Remy and Steven Taylor.
"Ole has had a baptism of fire in the Premier League. But he's a talented individual, a great guy and he'll be stronger for today," Pardew said.
"He won't think that for a week or so, but in the future he'll look back and know he's learnt some valuable lessons."
Pardew also apologised to angry Newcastle supporters and admitted he faces a tough task in his battle to win round mutinous fans.
The under-fire boss swerved the post-match end of season lap of honour after the planned walk-out by fed-up fans fell flat, with hundreds not thousands voting with their feet by heading for the exits in the 69th minute.
Pardew took the first step to repairing the fractured relationship by saying sorry for the six-match losing run, the club's worst in the top flight for 27 years, one finally brought to an end by the flattering scoreline.
"I apologise to the supporters for the last six games," said Pardew, who denied reports of a recent post-match clash with out-of-favour midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa.
"Hopefully with this win we've made a very small step towards showing that. The most important thing was a victory for them.
"They're obviously upset and angry about our recent run and that made it a difficult atmosphere."
"I clapped the fans before I went off at the end of the game.
"I didn't want to make an issue or a problem, but I wanted to thank the fans for following us up and down the country and supporting us so magnificently."