Swansea City head coach Russell Martin. Pic: Getty Images.

Russell Martin Praises Swansea City’s Bravery For Sticking To The Script

By David Williams

Russell Martin has hailed his team’s courage in sticking to their principles following Swansea City’s much needed 2-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion.

The Swans head coach had suffered a difficult time on the road, losing the three previous matches by a combined total of nine goals conceded and none scored.

But their victory at The Hawthorns was their first away from home since November and left Martin full of praise for his players’ perseverance with a passing style that has looked fragile away from their own patch.

The result moved them up to 16th in the Championship table, 13 points off the play-off places but with a game in hand.

“I’m extremely proud of them, especially after the last away game at Sheffield United,” said Martin.

“It was a completely different performance and testament to the work they have put in over the last seven or eight days.

“They have been incredible and I said before that I hoped they could just transfer it to the game. To play the way that we play takes big courage and a lot of attention to detail.

 

“You can do all the tactical work in the world and give as much information as you want, but they have to have the courage to put it into play when they step over the white line.

“I thought they were so brave tonight and I think we deserved to win. We limited them to one shot on target all game.

“There were a couple of scary moments, which you expect with the quality they possess, but it was a brilliant team performance.

Steve Bruce is still seeking his first win in charge of beleaguered West Brom after a defeat which left Baggies supporters chanting: “You’re not fit to wear the shirt.”

Late goals from Joel Piroe and Cyrus Christie made it one win in 12 Championship games for West Brom, one point from a possible 21 and one goal in 10-and-a-half hours of football.

Callum Robinson twice hit a post but West Brom failed to test Andrew Fisher, the Swansea goalkeeper.

Swansea captain and midfielder Matt Grimes said: “I thought we kept the ball well and I thought we defended really well, too.

“We had a couple of scary moments but whenever they had any momentum, we rode the storm and I thought we dominated the game and thoroughly deserved the win.

 

“It’s good to get a win on the road. The last couple of away performances have been really poor and we knew that we only had ourselves to blame for that.

“We had a good week’s work in training and put some ideas out on the pitch. We showed what we can do in that game.

“The clean sheet was massive, too. It was so important to come here and make sure we were back to our solid ways and not conceding chances like we did in those past two games.”

Bruce admitted: “Confidence is low. we’re struggling and it’s plain for everybody to see. We looked nervous and edgy and looked like we didn’t want the ball.

“It’s a hugely disappointing result. We’ve got to handle it better than we are at the moment and we have to turn that round.

“Everybody tells me what a good squad of players we’ve got on paper but we’re not seeing it on the pitch.

“You expect West Brom to be at the top in this division, not mid-table, and the players have got to handle that pressure of expectation.”

 

The first chance did not arrive until the 21st minute and it fell to Albion as Grady Diangana found Dara O’Shea and his cross was met by Robinson’s glancing header which hit the outside of a post.

After Kyle Bartley drove comfortably wide for West Brom, the home side went close to a breakthrough when the lively Diangana poked just off target from Robinson’s cross.

Swansea’s first chance of the game came three minutes before half-time when their captain, Matt Grimes, curled inches wide from 25 yards.

Swansea striker Michael Obafemi twice went close within a matter of seconds after the hour. First his close-range shot was deflected wide from Hannes Wolf’s cross then he crashed a flying header high over the bar from Manning’s centre.

Robinson thought he had found the breakthrough in the 76th minute but his placed shot hit a post.

Swansea punished the hosts by taking the lead with a counterattack in the 79th minute. The substitute Olivier Ntcham ran at Semi Ajayi before crossing through the defender’s legs and Piroe drilled home from 10 yards.

Swansea made it 2-0 six minutes before the end when the unmarked Christie drove home an angled shot off Johnstone.

 

 

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