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Winning Is Our Good Habit Says Alan Sheehan, As Swansea City Caretaker Strengthens His Case

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By Graham Thomas

Alan Sheehan has stressed that winning is a good habit to hold as he continues to build a credible case for remaining as Swansea City’s head coach.

Sheehan earned his second win of his four games in charge as Preston were beaten 2-1 at the Swansea.com Stadium thanks to two impressive goals from Jamie Paterson.

It means the Irish caretaker boss – who stepped up after the sacking of Michael Duff – has a record of two victories, a draw and one defeat so far.

Asked when the club intend to announce a new head coach, or continue with Sheehan in charge, he said: “I understand the situation and people want clarity. I’m not going to come here and tell any fan what to do.

“My work at the club is to try and give the supporters a team to be proud of. We have a lot of work to do on that.

“I think we have seven points out of 12. Progression and perfection is a repetitive phrase for me.

“I just have to focus on Boxing Day. I’m delighted with the win. Winning is a good habit to have in the Championship. We haven’t been good enough at home.

“Sometimes it’s hard to build fluency and you have to stay patient.

“But the players gave me absolutely everything right through to the 97th minute. I can’t ask for any more in terms of effort, desire and character.

Paterson struck a 95th minute winner – his second goal of the game – to improve caretaker coach Sheehan’s chances of staying in charge.

Paterson swept the ball low into the far corner after finding space in the Preston penalty area, his second moment of quality in a match generally low on anything above the mediocre.

Stade Reims manager Will Still has claimed Swansea have approached him about taking over as coach, but the Swans may opt to stick with Sheehan if his upturn in results can continue over the festive period.

For Preston manager Ryan Lowe, this was a bad end to a difficult week that has left him on shaky ground.

Rocked by a calamitous 5-1 home defeat to Watford in their last game, Lowe had suffered a barrage of online abuse from some supporters and held a fractious media briefing which suggested one victory in seven matches was starting to take a toll.

It looked as if things might improve for him after Liam Millar levelled in the 67th minute, wiping out a lead given to Swansea by Jamie Paterson on the hour mark.

But Paterson’s calm finish means sliding Preston have lost five of their last seven matches.

Sheehan added: “In an ideal world you want the wonderful performance and to win the game, but we did enough to win the game.

“Were we fluent? Probably not. They are a physical team and you have to deal with that. We tried to build through the thirds. We didn’t really build the tempo we wanted to.

“Sometimes you have to grind it out and two moments of absolute quality from Jamie Paterson win us the game.”

Preston manager Lowe said: “I am disappointed. It’s still raw. I am gutted that we just couldn’t see it through to get a point.

“We are disappointed with the first goal. We have left him unmarked inside the box and he scores a good goal – you can’t leave good players unmarked.

“The second one, we know we should pass forwards, play percentages. We have been undone by one of our own mistakes.

“I will have to lift myself first and foremost because I feel as if I am letting people down. I have to take the brunt of it, I am the manager. We will be in tomorrow afternoon and I will have to lift the players.”

The first-half was easily forgettable, aside from a couple of efforts from Swansea striker Jamal Lowe, one of which ended up in the net but was ruled out for offside.

The Bournemouth loanee swept the ball home from inside the six-yard box at the close of the first-half, but the attempt was rightly ruled out.

Lowe has only scored twice since the start of October, but looked the most likely to break the deadlock in a low quality, low intensity first 45 minutes.

The visitors were not quite as fragile defensively as one would expect of a team that had conceded five at home to Watford just six days before, but their attacking threat barely registered.

The game desperately needed a spark of quality and it came on the hour mark as Swansea captain Matt Grimes clipped a delicate pass into the path of Paterson, wide on the left of the penalty area.

Without breaking stride, the former Bristol City midfielder conjured a smooth half-volley which sent the ball across Cornell and inside the far post.

The goal stung Preston into a reaction – relative to what had gone before – and Duane Holmes fired a shot over the bar from the edge of the box.

Their next effort, however, was more accurate and earned the visitors a 67th minute equaliser .

Millar teased Swansea full-back Josh Key into retreat and then calmly curled a low shot inside the far post.

He repeated the trick moments later, but this time his attempt went inches wide.

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