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Borja Baston Blasts On For Swansea As Steve Cooper Says He’s Back To His Best

Steve Cooper says Borja Bastón was revelling in the role of leading the line after his two goals secured their 3-2 win over Preston.

The £15m Spanish striker went 1,022 days without a Swansea goal before this season but now has three goals in three league games.

It was his equaliser on the stroke of half-time that gave the hosts a lifeline after Joe Rafferty’s early strike put a dominant Preston side ahead after 11 minutes.

George Byers came on at the break and side-footed the ball home to put the hosts in front but Daniel Johnson levelled from the spot three minutes later after Connor Roberts fouled Sean Maguire.

Borja headed in the winner on 69 minutes to cap off a manic six-minute period and move his side on to seven points from their first three games.

“Borja is happy, he is a big character who is very well liked in the dressing room and you can see he is enjoying life,” said Swansea head coach Cooper.

“You look at his two finishes, they are outstanding No 9 finishes. The first is a cut-back from Connor, he calmly puts that in and the header was fantastic, a great goal.

“We saw parts of Borja at his best and that is being in the box scoring goals. That’s what No 9’s hopefully do best. He has three in three now, he is scoring a lot of goals in training and working hard. You can see he is not just about when we have got the ball.

“In the first half, and the players know this, we were not at the level we strive to be at. We gave the ball away cheaply, we did not press intensely enough and allowed Preston – who we knew were a strong team – to build momentum, score a goal and control large parts of the game.

“But we scored some excellent goals, with some really good play while showing good resilience, character and pride for the club.”

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Preston completely controlled the first half but opened the door for Swansea to get back into the game, and Alex Neil wants his team to learn from their mistakes.

“I don’t think there’s any question we should have been further in front at the end of the first half,” the Preston manager said.

“We had three or four golden opportunities that we didn’t take, but at this level you are never going to dominate away from home for 90 minutes. Other than the goals, Declan [Rudd] only had one save to make we had sustained pressure in the first-half but didn’t make it count.

“The simple fact is that football is about having resilience and coming up against setbacks. We shouldn’t have been level at half-time but we were. We gave the ball away and got punished.

“We have to look at the positives but realise we contributed to the negatives as well and we have to deal with that.”

Neil’s men scored early in both last week’s big wins against Wigan and Bradford and they made another fast start on Saturday.

The left-back Rafferty pushed forward, took a Swansea half-clearance down with his chest and curled a shot past Freddie Woodman from 20 yards.

Maguire flashed a header just over and then sent a shot across the face of goal in the final stages of the first half as the visitors looked to make their domination count.

But they went in level after Borja scored against the run of play four minutes into stoppage time. Jay Fulton found the run of Connor Roberts with an inch-perfect pass to the right wing before Borja moved into a yard of space and swept his low cross into the far corner past Rudd.

After 63 minutes, Borja missed the chance to score his second from Bersant Celina’s driven cross but the ball fell kindly to Byers, who side-footed it into the corner from the penalty spot.

Roberts then crashed into Maguire in the penalty area and Johnson beat Woodman to his right to level the scores at 2-2.

But Swansea turned to the man they brought back in from the cold to fire them back in front with 69 minutes gone.

Jake Bidwell charged on an overlapping run and received possession from Celina before clipping a delicate ball across the six-yard box for Borja to head home.


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