Oli McBurnie earned plenty of praise from Swansea City manager Graham Potter – even though his two goals were not enough to earn victory over Leeds United.
McBurnie scored twice during Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw at the Liberty Stadium, the second a magnificent header which showcased his technique and athleticism.
That made it three goals in four league games so far this season for the Scottish international and 12 goals in 21 Championship matches in total, when added to his efforts on loan at Barnsley last season.
“He has done a lot of unselfish work in recent weeks and tonight he got his reward,” said Potter.
“I think if you look at his record in the Championship over the last few months, he’s proven he can score at this level. He wants to play for Swansea City and he epitomizes everything that is good about this group of players.”
McBurnie would have been a deserved match-winner were it not for former Swan Pablo Hernandez who swept in the equaliser 12 minutes from time.
Yet there was enough in the overall team display – against opponents who came into the match with a 100 per cent record – for Potter to feel rightly upbeat.
The Swans currently sit third in the table, two points behind Leeds, who are top and the home side’s tempo and energy in an absorbing first hour suggested they will be capable of troubling most teams in this division, despite their lack of experience.
Bersant Celina was again a creative influence, Connor Roberts showed promise and versatility in a midfield role, and Joe Rodon already looks an accomplished central defender even though he is still finding his feet.
Yet, the manner in which they tired late on also underlines the need for more additions on loan before the deadline passes at the end of the month.
Potter added: “The Championship is always difficult. We are not perfect, but the attitude of the players is something to be proud of.
“I understand the nervousness of supporters about the squad. We would like to strengthen, and we will work hard until the deadline.
“We played against a good team and we reached a good level. I’m proud of the players and the environment we created.
“We had a good intensity and we showed courage. They have created a lot of goals but we restricted them to not too much.
“I was really happy with our first-half performance and we also had the best chance at the end.”
For Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa, the draw meant his first dropped points since he took charge at Elland Road in the summer.
The Argentine – a managerial target for the Swans three years ago – insisted reaching top spot in August is not significant, but he also claimed changes forced upon his team through injury had contributed to them being held.
“We have only played a small part of the competition,” said Bielsa. “It’s an important position to be top, but it doesn’t mean a lot.
“It was a good game to watch. There are some important aspects we have to correct. We didn’t defend well. But there are justifications for that. Of the five players in defence, we lost three of them. This was an obstacle.
“In order to attack, you have to defend well. The offensive performance of the team was not quite good enough.”
“I think the draw is a fair result. In the last games, we dominated but we couldn’t do the same tonight.
“Our performance had some defects. It’s a deserved result and an important result. The points you earn always have the same value.”