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Steve Cooper Claims Swansea City Are In The Play-Off Race . . . And Always Were

Steve Cooper insists Swansea City are not only in the race for the promotion play-offs – but they have never been away.

The Swans manager saw his side gain their first win in six matches – a 3-1 home victory over Huddersfield – to move them five points away from a top-six place ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Fulham.

Andre Ayew’s first-half strike put the Swans ahead before Chris Willock levelled the scores 12 minutes from time.

However, Jay Fulton rose high to head the hosts back in front moments later, and they were able to relax in stoppage time when Jordon Garrick scored his second goal off the bench in a week.

“I don’t think we’ve ever been out of the play-off mix, truth be told, because the league allows that to be the case,” said Cooper.

“We just wanted to win today. Our idea of how we want to play the game never changes.

“We were just really happy that we got what we deserved today. Everybody got what they deserved, the supporters, the players – and the last two games have been difficult here with the results.

“I didn’t really think we looked like we were going to concede. To respond the way we did, it would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves and think we’re not getting the rewards, but we didn’t do that.”

“We didn’t, we got ourselves straight back into the game with a well worked move from the corner that we scored from, a really good delivery and it was well attacked by Jay.

“In the end it was a fantastic goal, with great composure from Conor Gallagher to play in Jordon who was equally composed in going round the goalkeeper and scoring.

“It’s an important win, but I’m just as pleased with the performance.”

Huddersfield manager Danny Cowley said: “Conceding a goal like that stinks of a team in a relegation battle.

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“When you come in with one point from eight games you know what you’re in for. You know it’s going to be a long hard season that will go down to the wire.

“We’re leaving Swansea very disappointed. We worked so hard to get back into the game, and then we concede like that. It can’t happen like that if you want to be a successful team.

“We had control and momentum in the second half and we certainly thought we’d take something from it. We concede such a soft goal. It’s frustrating and disappointing.”

Joe Rodon and Ben Cabango became the first Welsh centre-half pairing to start a league game for the Swans since 1997 after coming in as two of four changes made by Cooper.

Winger Aldo Kalulu was handed his first league start since August in place of Bersant Celina, while Rhian Brewster led the line.

Swansea made the breakthrough after 28 minutes when Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl palmed Kalulu’s fired cross into the path of Ayew, who diverted into the bottom corner.

The home fans then thought Kyle Naughton had doubled the lead after seeing his shot ripple the side netting, but it was only Ayew’s first goal in six games that separated the teams at half-time.

Having provided the opener, Kalulu almost netted a second two minutes into the second half when he raced in to meet Jake Bidwell’s cross, but he sliced his shot a yard wide.

And they were made to pay as the visitors finally got back on level terms in the 78th minute when Jonathan Hogg worked the ball wide to Willock, who drove to the angle of the box and unleashed a pinpoint drive that hit the far post and went in.

However, it took just two minutes for the Swans to get back ahead and snatch the victory. Matt Grimes curled a corner across the six-yard box for Fulton to rise high and head the ball down and into the corner of the net.

And all three points were secured in the 90th minute thanks to substitute Garrick, who took the ball around Lossl and slotted home after being slipped in by Conor Gallagher to finish a rapid counter-attack.


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