By David Williams
Steve Cooper has backed Rhian Brewster to remain the man for the big occasion after he started the comeback that saw his side move to within collar-breathing distance of play-off rivals Cardiff City.
On-loan Liverpool forward Brewster scored his eighth goal in 16 games since joining on loan from Liverpool in January as the Swans beat Birmingham City 3-1 at St Andrew’s.
It meant back-to-back victories for Cooper’s side for the first time since December as they moved to within a point of sixth-placed Cardiff with four games remaining. The teams now have identical goal difference.
Brewster’s strike cancelled out Lukas Jutkiewicz’s early opener before Ben Cabango and Jay Fulton put Swansea into the position they could only have dreamed about a few days ago as other results have also fallen in their favour.
“That’s where you want him – in the box and scoring goals and if he gets a chance in the box, you fancy him,” said Cooper about England Under-21s forward Brewster.
“It wasn’t an easy finish – you might look back on it and say he should score but he kept it down well and took the opportunity.
“I was really pleased for him again. I thought he could have got another when he might have gone round the keeper. But he was full of running and endeavour again and a goal threat.
“These younger players have to make the most of their opportunities they’re being given and that doesn’t just apply to him but all of the young players.”
Cooper stressed the result was the only thing that matters after Swansea made it back-to-back wins.
“Getting the three points was really important at this stage of the season,” added Cooper.
“It was a difficult start and they really rocked us with that but it was a brilliant reaction from the boys.
“I thought we played excellently in the first half in terms of our positioning and possession and looked a real threat, moving them about.
“It was just about waiting for that moment to create chances and that’s what we did. I was happy with the performance and the result and we have to get ready for the weekend now.”
The defeat saw Birmingham’s winless run in the Championship extend to 10 matches and they have conceded three times in each of their last five home games.
The Swans are now two points ahead of both Preston and Derby and could move into the play-off places if Cardiff fail to win at Fulham on Friday night and the Swans beat Leeds United at home on Sunday.
But Cooper says he is not looking too closely at the table and the head coach added: “I want to focus on the football.
“The moment we start thinking about what might be – (that) is not what I want.
“I have said every round of matches the picture will change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.
“This one is for the better but it means nothing if we don’t take it into the next one.”
“I know the three points have never been more important than at this time of year but we have got to build on what was good at the weekend and today and even Millwall and take into the next game,” he added.
“Leeds on the weekend – it’s a game we are looking forward to. We don’t look any further than that.”