MX23RW : Wednesday, May 25 07:45:54| >> :120:36637:36637:
[monks data]
Aug 7, 2021 at 3pm UK at Ewood Park
Blackburn
2 - 1
Swansea
Gallagher (36'), Brereton Diaz (48' pen.)
Pickering (18'), Buckley (79'), Ayala (82'), Rothwell (90+2')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Paterson (52')
Latibeaudiere (40'), Cabango (88')

Swansea boss Russell Martin refuses to criticise 'brave' goalkeeper despite loss

Swansea boss Russell Martin refuses to criticise 'brave' goalkeeper despite loss
© Reuters
In his first game in charge of last season's play-off finalists, Russell Martin tasted defeat.

Swansea manager Russell Martin refused to criticise his "brave" goalkeeper Steven Benda despite the player's mistake in Saturday's opening 2-1 Championship defeat at Blackburn.

In his first game in charge of last season's play-off finalists, Martin tasted defeat with a team that looked a lot different in personnel and style from that game at Wembley.

An enthralling encounter saw glorious chances at both ends but Swansea's new possession-based approach ultimately led to the goals.

Sam Gallagher fired in a rebound after Benda had initially saved from Ben Brereton nine minutes from the break and – just minutes into the second half – the Swansea goalkeeper gave away a penalty after his poor touch gifted Tyrhys Dolan the ball.

Brereton hammered home the resulting penalty, fresh from his Copa America exploits.

The way Swansea want to play was evident in the response from debutant Jamie Paterson in the 52nd minute, who swept the ball home after the visitors opened Rovers up. But they could not force an equaliser.

Martin praised his side after only three days of training together and believes they deserved something from the game.

He said: "I think we deserved more, we had the three best chances of the game.

"I'm disappointed for them that the penalty cost us a goal, the mistake.

"I thought Steven was great, so I'm not going to criticise him. I thought he was brilliant. He came for things, he's brave, he made good decisions on the ball and mistakes will happen – especially this early on.

"We're also really pleased with the guys' mentality, their courage, to keep doing things we're asking them to do and I think as the game went on and on, we got better and better.

"(We were) really dominant, really controlled and yes, I think Blackburn were hanging on at the end. We're probably a bit unfortunate to come away getting beat.

"We've had three real days of work, we've had very little time. People have to be patient but the players' willingness to take on what we're asking them to do has been incredible and hopefully they felt at times today, what they can achieve in the game.

"We're asking them to be courageous, to have conviction in what they're doing so I can't ask for any more on that front. Although we lost the game and we're disappointed at that, I'm really pleased with what I saw."

Blackburn have won four straight league games at Ewood Park and boss Tony Mowbray said playing "aggressive football" won them the game.

"I think it materialised into the game we thought and expected. I think the uncertainty with Russell taking over was whether he was going to try and implement what he did at MK Dons and he did," Mowbray said.

"We are young, energetic, athletic and we played on the front foot and tried to take it off them.

"We felt we should have been in front by more than one goal at half-time and I think (we had) enough opportunities not to be not hanging on at the end, but be finding it difficult for them to have a go at the end.

"It shouldn't have been as close as that.

"Our players deserved a lot of credit, with their intensity and their front-foot pressing really. I am a big believer that you don't let good teams play their passing patterns.

"I think we're best trying to win the ball back higher and playing with a bit of intensity. And if teams are good enough to get through us, we've got a decent goalkeeper behind us.

"Today we benefited from playing aggressive football."

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