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Bersant Celina Admits His Panenka Was A Stinker . . . But The Swans Are Sliding Towards A Relegation Scrap

Bersant Celina has admitted his botched penalty cost Swansea City any hope of gaining points at West Brom – but insisted he would step up to take another.

The Swans midfielder held up his hands over the extraordinary error after his team crashed to a 3-0 defeat at The Hawthorns on Wednesday night.

The visitors were trailing 1-0 when they won a penalty just before half-time, but Celina’s attempt to casually chip the ball into the goal – Panenka style – ended with him slipping and the ball rolling a couple of yards to the right.

It was like a nine-iron hit by hacker that ends up squirting away along the ground at a 45-degree angle.

“”I felt that was the key moment,” admitted Celina after the Swans were beaten for the fifth time in their last seven Championship matches.

“I feel like I have cost the team and the game would have been different. I think we would have had a great chance to win. I want to score goals and help this team and I did not do that this time.

“It does not make me a worse or better player. I am normally very confident with penalties. This just did not go my way. It was a slip.

“But if I have another chance I will be the first to go up there and be confident to try again.”

Celina was right to take responsibility for an awful individual error, but wrong to assume it cost his team victory.

They may have dominated possession in the manner they normally do, but their fragile defending and lack of physical power always suggested West Brom were going to take all three points.

That lack of physical strength, experience and on-field leadership has been a constant for the Swans for most of the season – although it appears more damaging in recent weeks as their youthful energy starts to wane towards the end of the campaign.

They need to address it quickly, though. It may not matter too much in the long run if they are on the receiving end of an embarrassing thrashing at the hands of Manchester City in Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final – but they have started losing with regularity.

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If they were to lose their next league game – away to Nottingham Forest – they could well find themselves just eight points above the relegation zone with nine matches still remaining.

Swans manager Graham Potter – whose team have now lost five away games in succession – defended Celina’s penalty miss, but claimed the scoreline did not reflect the balance of play.

He said: “I’m pretty sure nobody has created as many chances here, but they’ve ended up winning 3-0. That’s the madness of football

“It was a horrible moment for Bersant – just one of those moments you don’t wish on anybody.

“But he was our designated penalty taker and fair play to him for wanting to take it. It’s easy to mock and I’m sure he’ll get a bit of grief about it but at least he had the courage to take it.

“We were the better team between the boxes but we haven’t defended well enough and it was just one of those nights in front of goal. If we had those chances again, we’d score them.”

Chris Brunt scored one and made another on his return to the West Brom side after being recalled by caretaker manager Jimmy Shan to make his first start in 11 games.

It was Brunt who gave Albion a 19th-minute lead with a free-kick.

The Swans were handed that chance to equalise from the penalty spot five minutes before half-time when skipper Mike van der Hoorn was fouled by Craig Dawson.

Celina lost his footing and fluffed the kick and his team slipped further behind when Mason Holgate scored in the 54th minute before Jay Rodriguez added a third five minutes from time.


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