Graham Potter insisted the “numbers were too low” over Leeds’ unsuccessful attempt to sign Daniel James as the Swansea City wing delivered his club into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
James scored a breathtaking individual goal as the Swans swept aside Brentford 4-1 at the Liberty Stadium.
The Wales wing ran 70 yards before making it 2-1 as his strike plus an own goal by Brentford keeper Luke Daniels and others from Bersant Celina and George Byers did for the Bees.
James’ second-half performance was electrifying – underlining why Leeds were so keen to prise him away, but according to Potter the Championship high-fliers tried to do it on the cheap.
Asked about the £7m Leeds deal collapsing and whether James will now sign a new contract at Swansea, Potter said: “You forget that these things happen in transfer windows where clubs don’t agree a price.
“You can see why on that performance, the numbers are too low, that’s the reality in my opinion.
“He’s got lots to work on but he had an end product today and I thought he was sensational.
“Once that happens he just gets on with being a footballer, he’s been incredible for us and we’re looking forward to working with him for the future.
“He was ok today, wasn’t he? The ability to sprint repeatedly, it’s as high a level as you’re going to see.”
When pushed on whether he now wants James to commit to a new agreement to replace the one due to expire in the summer of 2020, Potter added: “The answer is yes, but it’s not as simple as that.
“All parties have to agree. It’s a process, you have to make sure everybody’s happy.
“In the meantime, my responsibility as a head coach is to help him play football, to carry on with his career and to reach his potential because he’s still got a lot to do.
“But as you see today, he’s not playing against bad players, they’re not physically weak defenders, but he leaves them for dust.”
James’ goal put Swansea ahead early in the second-half after an own goal from Daniels had cancelled out Ollie Watkins’ opener.
Celina – whose free-kick led to Daniels’ own goal – made it 3-1 to Swansea before Byers added a fourth late on.
It was unforeseen collapse by Brentford who looked totally dominant in the first-half but Thomas’ Frank’s team fell to pieces after they had Ezri Konsa sent off.
With just one defeat in 12 games, the Bees had the kind of smooth passing game and confident swagger that used to be the domain of the home team at the Liberty Stadium.
Twice Brentford might have gone ahead when they unpicked Swansea’s defence in the opening minutes. First, Swansea skipper Mike van der Hoorn had to stick out a boot to clear Moses Odubajo’s dangerous cross and then Said Benrahma and Sergi Canos combined to create more panic.
When Benrahma shot over after Swansea goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfelt could only palm another cross into the middle of the goalmouth it appeared the siege would inevitably yield a goal for the visitors.
It came in the 28th minute when a swift and devastating counter-attack involving Romaine Sawyers, Benrahma and Neal Maupay ended with Ollie Watkins driving a rising shot past the advancing Nordfelt.
The goal – Watkins’ fourth in his last five matches – was a deserved lead and Brentford might have improved it had an offside flag not denied Maupay.
Fortunate to be only a goal down at the break, Swansea needed a spark at the start of the second-half and found it when the speedy Daniel James forced Ezri Konsa to concede a free-kick and yellow card when he pulled back the Swans winger.
Bersant Celina – the Swans’ former Manchester City midfielder – curled his shot around the wall and although Luke Daniels pushed the ball against a post, the ball rebounded off the keeper’s back for the equaliser.
Level just four minutes after the restart, the Swans almost conceded again when Benrahma crossed from the left but the ball was scrambled clear.
Swansea rode their luck and by the 53rd minute they moved into a dramatic lead thanks to a glorious individual goal by Daniel James.
Brentford messed up a free-kick on the edge of the Swansea penalty area, but when the ball broke to James he was a full 70 yards from goal.
The Wales international simply outpaced the cover, took the ball wide to the right and then found the composure to thump the ball past Daniels.
Brentford’s implosion was almost complete seven minutes later when Konsa inexplicably lunged in again at James and was a shown a red card.
Swansea were now buoyant and the turnaround in this tie was emphatic when they made it 3-1 through Celina in the 66th minute.
The Kosovan international showed quick feet and a neat touch to go past Canos and Julian Jeanvier before slotting the ball into the far corner.
The visitors’ meltdown appeared to continue when another high tempo Swans attack ended with Connor Roberts hitting the net for a fourth time – only to be ruled out for offside.
But Swansea finished on a high when James tormented Brentford for the umpteenth time and Byers scored with a low drive from the edge of the box.