By Fraser Watson
Whether it be an ugly scrap or the “Swansea way” – club captain Matt Grimes doesn’t care right now.
He’s just happy to keep on winning.
Grimes scored twice in a game for the first time in his career, the first a stunning 25-yard strike before later converting from the penalty spot, as Swansea routed Nottingham Forest 5-1 to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
It made it six wins and a draw in all competitions for the Swans since losing at Derby on December 16th, but Grimes has refuted suggestions that the re-laid, slicker surface at the Liberty Stadium had given the side an extra edge.
“Before Christmas, when the pitch wasn’t so good ,we were still winning. It’s a big testament to the team and how far we’ve come since that we can now win ugly as well.
“You saw last week at Barnsley conditions weren’t great and we’re going to have a lot more of those type of games between now and the end of the season.
“It we can win playing beautiful ball like against Forest, which is the Swansea way, then great but if not we are happy to dig in as well.”
Swansea did make seven changes from the side that won at Oakwell, but Grimes insisted that building momentum right now takes precedence over resting players.
And of course, there is now the added incentive of a home tie with Manchester City – a scenario confirmed when Pep Guardiola’s side won at Cheltenham Town.
“Today we put in a very good performance and we want to keep building. We made a few changes that sometimes can disrupt things but we took it in our stride and got the job done – emphatically as well.
“We’re in a very positive place at the moment and the changing room is buzzing, but football being football we know it can turn quickly. We’ll try to concentrate on the next game and build more momentum – and winning again is the best way to gain it.”
Grimes was also involved, in fact scoring from the penalty spot, in the now infamous FA Cup quarter final clash between the Swans and Guardiola’s side back in March 2019.
Leading 2-0 under then manager Graham Potter, the hosts succumbed to a second half City comeback which involved a controversial penalty and a late Sergio Aguero winner – which replays later showed to be offside.
There will be no VAR again this time around, but Grimes refused to become embroiled in any talk of revenge.
“The prospect of getting them in the next round was an incentive going into the game today. As a player you want to play against the best and they probably are the best team in the country right now
“I don’t want to start going into the last game. We all know they’re such a good team with fantastic players – I’m not going to risk saying we owe them one only to get an absolute tonking.”
Prior to that clash of course, three critical tests lie in wait. Fellow promotion chasers Brentford come to town on Wednesday, before a trip to Rotherham on the weekend and then the visit of runaway league leaders Norwich the following Friday.
Second in the Championship, the Swans have also signed Conor Hourihane on loan from Aston Villa, a capture that Grimes feels echoes their ambition of returning to the Premier League this season.
“It’s a massive thing for the club to be able to get someone like him in,” added Grimes.
“We’re doing really well in the league, he would’ve seen what we did last year and we’re playing some really good football at the moment so it’s all positive. If we can get any more great players like him in then even better.
“The games we have now are massive games because in two cases we are playing the teams around us – but the schedule comes at you so thick and fast at the moment that every game is potentially a massive three points.”
And as long as Swansea keep securing those three points, whether it be via eye catching football or a scrappy dogfight – Grimes and co won’t care.