Cardoso marked his return to the fore as he stepped up to convert Chiefs’ spot-kick against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates in their 1-1 Soweto Derby draw over the weekend.
After being victimized for Amakhosi’s hapless defence in the first half of the season, that saw the club often lose valuable points due to conceding soft goals, the 29-year-old has explained one of the key contributors to their poor defensive form under Solinas.
“When Solinas was here, we were using mannequins in training – there was no physicality or penetration from strikers, and now with coach Ernst Middendorp we’re doing a lot of small-sided games and we’re learning to close it up at the back,” explained Cardoso.
“One of coach Ernst’s sayings is always to, ‘let them go outside and cover the inside’, which is something that’s always been obvious in football but sometimes you just need a fresh reminder again. But Solinas never ever did any physical work with us [defenders].”
Cardoso further explained that the constant chopping and changing didn’t do them any favours either and, when quizzed thereover, the Italian would often give lousy excuses – suggesting he had no obvious plan for his stay at the club.
“If you saw in every other game there were about five, six or seven changes to the line-up and you can’t get consistency like that, because you grow confidence as you play,” he added.
“But if you play two games and sit out three games, you start questioning, ‘What have I done wrong?’ And then he’d either tell us that he was resting us or protecting us.
“I think it was an excuse, I don’t think he had much of a plan going forward. We used to sit on the training grounds for three hours, running against mannequins – there was no structure.
“Now, when we go into training it’s energy and high spirits – we’re all over the place, and sessions have gone from three hours to an hour-and-forty-minutes.”
Asked whether Solinas’ tenure was effectively a waste of six months for The Glamour Boys, Cardoso defended that at least it was a learning experience for the players and the club.
“I wouldn’t say it was a wasted six months, I mean it’s all a learning curve. You can never go wrong anywhere, you always learn something new,” he defended.
Sounds a bit like the old cliché, ‘never a failure but always a lesson’ used to excuse exactly that – failures.