Carlos Carvalhal warned Swansea City’s dramatic 2-1 win at Watford is just the first, small step on the long road to Premier League survival.
The Swans were staring at another damaging defeat, and in danger of being cast further adrift at the bottom, as they trailed to Andre Carrillo’s goal with time running out in Carvalhal’s first game in charge.
However, Jordan Ayew sparked the revival with an 86th-minute equaliser and substitute Luciano Narsingh completed the thrilling comeback moments before full-time.
It meant Carvalhal, the shock choice to replace Paul Clement on Thursday having only lost his job at Championship Sheffield Wednesday four days earlier, could celebrate only a second win in 13 matches for the Swans which hauled them off the foot of the table.
But he said: “Before the game if you asked 100 people if Swansea will be relegated, 100 people would say Swansea will be relegated.
“Now 98 people will be saying it, and maybe two people are saying maybe they will not. But it is still a small percentage, we are still not in a good position.
“But the confidence is higher now and the belief is higher. Me, the players, the chairman and the fans are not in the 100 – we believe we can stay up.
“But this is just the first step. I’m not thinking just because we won one game that it is paradise, full of birds and flowers. It will still be very, very hard.”
Ayew had already hit the crossbar for Swansea before they fell behind after 11 minutes when Lukasz Fabianski blocked Richarlison’s angled drive at his near post.
The ball looped up for on-loan Benfica winger Carrillo to head his first Hornets goal into an unguarded net.
Watford then dominated proceedings and had a Molla Wague goal harshly ruled out for a slight shove on Tammy Abraham.
Andre Gray should have doubled their lead when through one-on-one with Fabianski but placed his shot too close to the keeper.
They were made to pay a minute later when Narsingh’s cross was headed down by fellow substitute Oliver McBurnie and Ayew tucked the ball home.
The drama had not finished there as with a minute remaining Heurelho Gomes failed to hold a low drive from another substitute, Nathan Dyer.
The ball fell to the feet of Narsingh, who slotted it home to spark bedlam in the visiting dugout and despair on the home bench.
“It is a big disappointment for us, we did enough to win,” said Hornets boss Marco Silva.
“Our opponents shot one time at our goal in the opening minutes and then did not create another chance until it was 1-1.
“We created chances to score and we had a big chance moments earlier. Then, e ven after 1-1 we needed to keep focused until the end of the match.
“For the disallowed goal I didn’t see a big foul, it was a normal contact in the Premier League.
“The first goal they scored looks a small offside. But I don’t want to make excuses, we should have killed the match.”