The Bluebirds had a chance to move within three points of promotion-chasing Nottingham Forest in the SkyBet Championship and blew it – big time.

Yes, Cardiff City should have been awarded a penalty when Josh Murphy was tripped, but overall they simply did not deserve a victory.

Instead, they lost to a single goal and are now nine points behind Forest, who in turn are now in third place.

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“The difference between the teams?” asked manager Neil Harris, “The goal. The quality in the penalty area, the composure, the good finish.

“The penalty decision went against us.

“In real time, I thought it was a penalty, and now I’ve seen it from two other angles. It’s a penalty for me. The player makes the challenge from the wrong side of Josh Murphy and doesn’t get the ball. It has to be a foul.

“Anywhere else on the pitch, I’m sure the referee would have given it. It was a key moment in the game, right on the stroke of half-time. A lot of big moments in the last two games here have gone against us, unfortunately.

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“I got a response from Saturday (0-2 defeat at Stoke). We were certainly much better with the ball and there was plenty to be pleased about. We had a lot of possession, moved the ball well and got into some great areas.

“Ultimately, though, we didn’t win the game.

“We got into some great areas, but lacked that composure and that quality in the final third.

“That’s the difference between Forest being nine points in front of us tonight rather than three.”

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Harris talked about the angry confrontation between Leandro Bacuna and Callum Paterson after the final whistle, saying: “I have no complaints at all about passion.

“I played like that, I manage like that, I like personality.

“I like character, I like a winning mentality and if there is an argument at full-time then it will boil down to the fact we didn’t win the game.

“In the heat of the moment, I have no problem with that as long as the heat of the moment is dealt with, which it was. I saw that it was.

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“In the modern world we just have to be careful doing it in public, out on the pitch. It could be seen as something more major than what it is. They are two good lads.”

Will Vaulks separated his two team-mates and Harris said: “Pato and Leo cam into the changing room cuddling.

“I didn’t speak to the players about it. I’ve seen enough to see them come in cuddling, sitting next to each other in the changing room and one pat the other on the leg as they walk past.

“They weren’t smiling, but understanding the frustration. It’s a passionate game and they are passionate players.

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“It shows a caring nature to the changing room that they want to go well and we want to do well.

“Underlying issue? No. Overflow into the changing room? Not at all.”

The Bluebirds suffered only their second home defeat of the season, going down to a second half goal by Portuguese player Tiago Silva. He netted from Lewis Grabban’s cross after 49 minutes.

Defeat against Forest leaves Harris and his team with a crucial fixture against Brentford at Cardiff City Stadium this Saturday.