Malky Mackay paid tribute to Cardiff's players, staff and supporters after a "tough four weeks" and pointedly avoided any mention of the owner, Vincent Tan, after Steven Caulker's second-half header vanquished a disappointing Swansea side.
The win lifts Cardiff above Swansea in the table and eases some of the pressure on Mackay, whose position has looked precarious ever since Tan sacked Iain Moody, the club's head of recruitment, at the start of last month.
Mackay chose his words carefully but made a point of praising the club's transfer strategy in the summer, after Caulker and Gary Medel, two of the players brought in on Moody's watch, made notable contributions. Caulker, an £8m signing from Tottenham Hotspur, was the matchwinner while Medel, who cost a club-record £11m when he joined from Sevilla, was the best player on the pitch.
Cardiff deserved their victory against a subdued Swansea team whose Jonjo Shelvey could face action from the FA after television footage emerged apparently showing him attempting to incite opposing fans.
At the full-time whistle the Swansea players went to applaud the travelling support but Shelvey appeared to make a gesture known as "Swim away" towards the Cardiff fans. The gesture is believed to reference an incident which took place in 1988 where Cardiff fans allegedly retreated into the sea after the two sets of supporters clashed.
Swansea offered little goal threat and finished the game with 10 men, after Michel Vorm was sent off for a professional foul on Fraizer Campbell in injury time. They had already lost the services of Michu, who was withdrawn with a twisted ankle in the second half.
Mackay punched the air with delight at the end as Tan, back at the club for the first time in almost a month, looked on from the stand. Asked whether he had spoken to Tan and if the owner gives him much credit for a performance like the one his players produced against Swansea, Mackay said: "I've not spoken to the owner yet and I don't know [the answer] to the second one.
"What I am delighted about is that performance and the three points for our fans, our staff and our players, because they've had a tough three or four weeks to endure – and I'm talking about the players here as well.
"So for us to come out with a performance like that and put smiles on everyone's faces in Cardiff is something that really pleases me more than anything else. We have worked hard here for two and a half years, in terms of my team of staff and the players we have brought to the club to get to a point like that, and we desperately want to make sure that we are here next year in this division."
Tan gave a television interview after this first top-flight match between the two Welsh clubs, which ended without any unsavoury off-the-field incidents. "We are very thankful everything worked out well," Cardiff's owner said. Asked whether he would explain the departure of Moody, Tan replied: "Not now, when the time is right. I don't want to add fuel to the fire. I'll explain when I'm ready." He was also asked whether he was concerned that, after a turbulent four weeks, Mackay could be tempted to resign: "I have no comment," Tan said.
Caulker, who chose not to celebrate his goal because of the loan spell he had at Swansea a couple of years ago, has proved to be a fine acquisition for Cardiff. Mackay said: "He was very brave to step out of Spurs and to walk away from being a squad player and, with respect to us, dropping down to us. But he did it with the best intentions for his career and not for his pocket, and that's huge. It gives him great credit.
"We did our homework on him and knew that he would be a good signing for us, as we did with all our summer signings. I was really pleased with the summer haul of players that we got here; it's added to the good group that we've got over the last couple of years. We've brought in over 30 players over the last two and a half years and there's a system attached to that, and it's why we're in the situation we're in right now."
Michael Laudrup, the Swansea manager, refused to criticise his players despite a listless performance. "I think disappointment is the best word to describe how everyone feels right now. We knew how important this game was to everybody. I've been on the winning side and the losing side [in these games]. It's always easy to brag when you win but you have to stand up as well [in defeat]. There is always a next time for everything."