January 11 2012
The Palace squad had been hit by a virus in the lead up to the Carling Cup semi-final and Nathaniel Clyne was forced to miss out after getting struck down by the bug.
Freedman said: "I feel that we were very unlucky in our preparation. We had to patch up a couple of players and get them out there.
"I decided to look them in the eye and ask them if they were prepared to put their bodies on the line for the club and the answer was a convincing yes.
"Nathaniel Clyne couldn't make it tonight, he couldn't get out of his bed to come here so that was an easy decision. With such a big game I had to take that risk.
Anthony Gardner's goal gave Palace a narrow 1-0 lead ahead of the second leg in Wales in two weeks' time and Freedman was also pleased with the ex-Tottenham star's display at the back.
Freedman added: "I look for my defenders to defend. If I'm going to give Anthony Gardner a pat on the back it's for his defending. Julian Speroni is simply the best goalkeepers in this division and that allows Anthony Gardner, Paddy McCarthy and Peter Ramage to defend the way they did.
"That allows your Darren Ambrose, Glenn Murray, Wilfried Zaha to get the headlines. I look at Anthony Gardner and thought - solid as a rock. That's why he'll get my man of the match, not for his goal."
Bluebirds boss Malky Mackay was unhappy to see a "goal" ruled out for a foul on Julian Speroni.
He said: "The referee not giving a goal is a surprise to me. I've looked at it again and again, maybe he has got in his mind he should have given a goal-kick rather than a corner and tried to rectify that.
"But he's had an absolute howler with that one. You don't level one thing up with another... play goes on.
"So I'm disappointed with that but there's still all to play for. I thought to a man we were tremendous tonight and overall I'm very proud of them.
"I thought we dominated play, were very bright and had countless chances, but it's only half-time now.
"We'll bring them back to Cardiff City Stadium now and we're going to have a right good go, don't worry about that."
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