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Swansea 2-0 Fulham Prem 23 1314 Daily Mail

last updated Wednesday 29th January 2014, 10:34 AM
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Riath Al-Samarrai at Daily Mail


Swansea (0) 2 Fulham (0) 0


They all count. That goes as much for Jonjo Shelvey's ugly winner and Chico Flores's scrappy follow up as the three points they brought Swansea City on Tuesday night.

Michael Laudrup, a purist as a player and now a manager, certainly had few objections as he looked to the skies after a win that just might, maybe, transform this strange season.

It was his first league win in nine games, a win that for now at least will draw attention away from dressing-room rows and his own future. Such is the wonderful, compact nature of this competitive division, it has also catapulted Swansea from 15th to 10th.

For that, he owes so much to the deflections that forced Rene Meulensteen to swallow a defeat that didn't look likely in the first half. They have now lost 12 of their last 15 and sit a point off the bottom. Maybe that's why he didn't do a press conference after the game.

Laudrup did and was visibly relieved. He admitted confidence has been 'low' in the past fortnight, but added: 'It is a huge win. First of all because it is some games since we won in the league and also because it is a direct opponent.

'We have three games now against our direct opponents in the table. Every game is a six pointer. When you play direct opponents it is even more important.'

He continued: 'Now we go into the next game with two consecutive wins (having beaten Birmingham in the FA Cup) and that must give the team belief going forward. There are a lot of teams on similar points so we need more wins.'

As do Fulham. Perhaps the oddest thing about the post-Martin Jol era is that Fulham have actually been playing quite well.

Their pathetic figures do little to reflect that. But here, for large periods, they did not look like a team that should be fighting relegation.

That was in part a reflection on Swansea's lack of individuals who can fashion beauty from nothing. Nathan Dyer started on the bench after six weeks out, but how they could have used some of his imagination recently. His introduction after an hour dramatically sharpened a side in danger of falling to a team that simply cannot score away from home.

A Kieran Richardson free kick after 20 minutes found Hangeland, whose header from six yards went over. Poor marking and a worse header.

Ashkan Dejagah then went close with a header and Ashley Williams made a superb block to stop Clint Dempsey. Williams's screams said everything about the quality of Swansea's defending.

Shelvey hit the bar as Swansea retaliated and De Guzman had two such efforts in quick succession after the break, before Laudrup made the call to send on Dyer. Within a minute he had danced inside Richardson before squaring to Shelvey, who shot wide.

It was a similar routine that led to Swansea breaking through after 61 minutes, Dyer passing inside to Shelvey, whose shot went in via Steve Sidwell and a second more substantial knock off Hangeland.

Flores wrapped up the win with a near post header that cannoned off Dimitar Berbatov.

They all count and both managers know it.





















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