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Luke Williams Admits Swansea City Must Learn To Hold Their Leads

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By David Williams

Luke Williams insisted Swansea City had left two points behind after they left Watford with a 1-1 draw to ease their relegation worries.

The point stretched the gap between the Swans and the drop zone from four to five points as the head coach saw his team remain 15th in the Championship table.

But Williams admitted they should have got more from the game after benefitting from an own goal to take a 1-0 lead.

“It is a couple [of points] dropped,” he said.

“We scored first and just about dominated the first half. From that position you have a choice to control the game more – you don’t have to frantically try to score any more.

“You can manage the game in a different way. We didn’t do that so we lost two points.

“The one-goal cushion wasn’t enough. We have to improve the way we finish games. We are starting games better but we have to finish better.

“If we are not going to be able to play with the same attacking threat, we have to manage the game in a different way and that’s something we are learning.”

“I felt at half time we could have been in front by another goal but Watford were really aggressive in the second half and we deserved a point each.

“We were value for a goal even though it was fortunate in the way it came about.

“We are feeling in a good place and in all three games we performed to a pretty good level but there is no doubt that we have a long way to go to being the best team we can be.

“We have been 2-0 up, 2-0 up and 1-0 up at half-time so we have to make better performances in the second 45 minutes. This is an obvious one.

“In the second half we have to either maintain our level or find a way to control the game better – that is what we have to learn.

“Overall we have been competitive outside the really top sides in the division.”

Ryan Porteous cancelled out Ryan Andrews’ unlucky own goal as Watford came from behind to share a draw.

The point enabled the Swans to move further away from a relegation dogfight, although it also ended a two-match winning streak.

Watford have still not won at home in the league since November 28 and manager Valerien Ismael said of the own goal, “It was a lack of communication. It has happened – unfortunately. There is no antidote against making mistakes in football.

“At half-time we had to clear the air and then we spoke positively. At the minute this is really tough – it is a challenge – but we cannot drop mentally.

“We came back into the game so it is step after step. Just at the minute we need to get all the positives that we can get – and I think we will become stronger after this period.

“When you are in difficult situations you have to make changes so we changed players, in the first half the way to play and a lot of things on the training ground, including the schedule just to make sure the players were aware about the situation.

“Every player is involved and for me the keeper position is like an outfield player – it should be possible to change the keeper just to keep everyone involved.”

Goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann was brought back for a first Watford appearance in the league since three days before that win.

The first chance in the 13th minute was for Watford as Yaser Asprilla skipped past Harry Darling to reach the Swans box but Ben Cabango was able to deflect the Colombian’s shot wide.

Centre-back Cabango had to do the same three minutes later when Jamal Lewis had a go from the left of the box, and Swansea’s reply was an 18th-minute opener that was all of Watford’s making.

Andrews stopped Przemyslaw Placheta from reaching a long ball into the inside left channel from Matt Grimes by heading the ball back towards his goalkeeper.

Except that Bachmann had come rushing off his line without the right-back realising – and both were left watching in horror as the ball bounced into an empty net.

Bachmann made partial amends for his earlier error with a fine save to deny Ronald on the half-hour mark.

The Brazilian, a January addition for Swansea, caught Lewis dozing in possession to get an unimpeded run at goal – but Bachmann was able to divert his shot behind.

Josh Tymon was booked for barging Andrews over – a challenge that home fans thought should have merited a red card – before Emmanuel Dennis saw a shot deflected behind and Porteous headed over from a corner.

The last chance of the half was Swansea’s however – a close-range header by Cabango from Jamie Paterson’s cross – but Bachmann did well to get a glove on it.

Placheta saw a drive deflected behind as Swansea began the second period strongly but Dennis soon saw a header saved at the other end.

Watford levelled in the 57th minute from a corner that was swung into the box by Giorgi Chakvetadze, who had replaced Ken Sema just before the break. Wesley Hoedt flicked it on from in front of the near post and Porteous was in the right place to divert it over the line from close range.

That pepped up the Hornets and, following good work down the left by Chakvetadze, Asprilla and then Lewis saw on-target efforts blocked by defenders.

Placheta fired Swansea’s best chance in a while across goal and wide in the 73rd minute before Dennis, who had earlier scuffed wide, saw a late Watford chance deflected over.

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