Ralph Hasenhüttl accepted the Southampton job after six months recharging the batteries in the Austrian Alps but defeat here offered a jarring reminder of the mountain his new team must climb if they are to avoid relegation. A costly defensive error by Jannik Vestergaard gift-wrapped Cardiff a deserved victory, with Callum Paterson on hand to apply a composed finish 16 minutes from time. Southampton are now winless in 14 matches, having won four of their past 41 matches and they remain off the foot of the table only goal difference.
For Hasenhüttl, this proved a harsh induction to the Premier League, with the Austrian thrown into facing a tenacious Cardiff side after just two training sessions with his new side. This was a harrowing welcome into an unforgiving world of Aron Gunnarsson long throws and meaty challenges on a horrible afternoon in south Wales. Many expected Cardiff, as Neil Warnock alluded to in his programme notes, to be rooted to the bottom of the table, but a fourth home win in five matches suggests there is plenty of life left in them yet. Whatever Cardiff may lack in quality, they certainly make up for in spirit.