By David Williams
Russell Martin has described Swansea City’s goalless draw at bottom club Huddersfield as a “brilliant performance.”
The Swansea head coach watched his team dominate the match but their fifth game without a win leaves them outside of the play-off places as the Championship campaign goes into a four-week break for the World Cup in Qatar.
Remarkably, the Swans’ stuttering form has not seen them fall out of the play-off picture and although they are back in eighth spot, they will resume on December 10 level on points with sixth-placed Millwall.
“It was a brilliant performance, but I’m really frustrated not to win,” said Martin.
“It was so dominant, and it was a really pleasing performance. The lads were so brave and showed courage, so I’m really proud of them.
“It’s been a hell of a run of games and we’ve not lost this week, drawn all three games but should have won all three.
— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) November 13, 2022
“This is probably the best performance and the most dominant one. We have so many young men that the break will come at the right time for them. We have four guys going to the World Cup, but we’ll have a little recharge for everyone.”
One of those four players is midfielder Ollie Cooper, who is a travelling reserve with Wales on stand-by in case of injuries within Rob Page’s 26-man squad.
Cooper will join up with Wales pair Joe Allen and Ben Cabango, while Olivier Ntcham will also be in Qatar with Cameroon.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Cooper of the news that he will be travelling with the squad.
“It’s hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I don’t think it will until I turn up at camp and see the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
“It’s been a bit of a mad week with all the speculation. You try not to get carried away. I was always just focused on playing for Swansea this season. That is what my aim was and then to find out I was on standby for Wales was great.
“There’s always a bit of disappointment that I wasn’t in the squad but to find out that I will be travelling and get to be part of the whole thing is just a massive, massive moment. It’s a huge achievement for me and I’m looking forward to the experience.”
When the season started , Cooper’s name was not one being mentioned with regards to Page’s 26-man squad, and it says much about his development and performances that he soon came to be a genuine contender.
Hi Swansea fans, Huddersfield fan in peace. Just wondering how you feel watching you play like that week in week out Surely it must be boring? Just want to know your thoughts… Anyway good luck for the season 👍🏻☺️ #SCFC #JackArmy #SwanseaCity
— TerrierTogether (@htafc_terrier90) November 13, 2022
And Cooper admits the notion of being in contention for a World Cup squad was far from his mind when he reported for pre-season.
“I’d never have imagined this at the start of the season,” he added.“I remember speaking at the start of the season about this international break.
“Me and my girlfriend were planning a holiday and we knew the boys here at Swansea would have a week off, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be on loan somewhere where they wouldn’t be stopping for the World Cup.
“Now I’m missing that holiday because I’m going to the World Cup! I really just couldn’t have predicted or expected anything like this.”