Russell Martin Hails ‘Warrior’ Ben Cabango . . . After His Injury Time Winner Sends Swansea Into The Play-Off Spots

Ben Cabango scored an injury time winner for Swansea last night. Pic: Getty Images.

Russell Martin Hails ‘Warrior’ Ben Cabango . . . After His Injury Time Winner Sends Swansea Into The Play-Off Spots

By David Williams

Ben Cabango has been described as “a warrior” and one of the best defenders in the Championship by his grateful Swansea City head coach Russell Martin.

Cabango underlined his growing stature for the Swans with a commanding performance and winning goal as Martin’s side made it three victories on the spin with a 2-1 victory at Watford.

The result has lifted Swansea into the top six of the Championship for the first time this season and leaves them only six points off second-placed Norwich City.

“I’m so pleased for him,” said Martin of Cabango.

“(Set-piece coach) Andy Parslow has a lot of conversations with him. Ben should have had a goal or two before now.

“I don’t want to put any pressure on him but he’s one of the best centre-halves at this level, in my opinion, with what he does, how far he’s come and how much he’s improved.

“He really has developed so much. He’s a warrior who has started to develop other traits.

“He can really play football, he’s really brave and if he can add some goals to it, it’ll be even better for us.”

Swansea have now taken 13 points from the last 18 on offer after recovering from an unconvincing start to the season.

“I’m just so proud of the players for winning the game and showing character to come from behind,” said Martin.

“I loved so much about the performance tonight, especially the courage to play. I don’t think Steven [Benda] touched the ball until 27 minutes. They were outstanding, the players, so I felt really disappointed that we went 1-0 down.

“The way they bounced back, with the courage and intensity they showed for each other even in some scary moments.

“But when we are asking them to play and to be brave there will be moments like that and we have to accept that.

“There were a couple of big moments from Steven and a couple of brilliant chances for us as well. But to come here and have more shots and to play the way they did after such a big effort on the weekend, I’m so grateful first and foremost, and so proud.

“The fans certainly played their part, they were incredible. This run of results now is the reward for the belief they’ve carried on showing when we were having a sticky moment and the hard work they put in when we had a tough start to the season.”

Cabango headed home Ryan Manning’s free-kick eight minutes into a total of 20 added on after the officials’ communication equipment failed, leading to the players having to leave the pitch.

 Ismaila Sarr fired Watford ahead but Olivier Ntcham levelled after half-time to lay the foundations for the delayed celebrations.

Slaven Bilic, the former West Ham and West Brom manager, had enjoyed a 4-0 victory at Stoke on Sunday in his first game as Rob Edwards’ successor as Watford boss.

Responding to questions about the prolonged stoppage, Bilic said: “It is a situation that doesn’t happen very often, I don’t want to say it was the reason we lost the game, I think it affected both teams.

“We were short of players anyway and now we have more injuries. The whole defensive line was not a normal one.

“It should not have happened anyway. A lot of goals come from set-pieces but the guy was alone in the middle, it is very hard to accept it.

“You can’t blame the players who came on but we lost the shape we had in the first half.”

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