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Steve Cooper: 'Rotherham win could be vital in Swansea promotion bid'

Steve Cooper: 'Rotherham win could be vital in Swansea promotion bid'
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Matt Grimes' first-half goal earned Swansea all three points against Rotherham.

Swansea manager Steve Cooper believes his side's hard-fought victory over Rotherham could prove vital in the race for promotion.

The hosts dominated for large spells but had to dig in and fight to clinch three points after Rotherham rallied late on.

Captain Matt Grimes scored his first goal from open play for five years in the 27th minute when he fired a half-volley from the edge of the box that scrambling goalkeeper Jamal Blackman failed to keep out.

But Swansea were forced to hold on and could have conceded a penalty in the final minutes when Ryan Bennett looked to have committed a handball on his own goal-line after Michael Smith headed Kyle Vassell's cross towards goal. But their protests were waved away by referee Matthew Donohue.

And Cooper was delighted with his team's determination to secure three points.

"I am really happy with it, it was a hard-fought game," said Cooper. "We created some really good chances that we could and should have done better with.

"We scored a scruffy goal to be fair and to show the other side of the game in the second half, showing resilience and character and dealing with the set-pieces and having the kitchen sink thrown at us, I'm really happy with that.

"It is the games and the days like this that could be really important. I am not saying we wouldn't have won this game last year, but there were games like this we didn't win.

"Also credit to the boys because our record after the international break hadn't been great, we do lose a lot of players to the international break.

"I am really pleased with the win as these are difficult games. We are missing players unfortunately through no fault of our own, but we showed a lot of character and I am really pleased with that."

Rotherham manager Paul Warne believes they should have been awarded a penalty, but had no complaints about the final result.

"I thought our first-half performance was lacklustre, and it just wasn't us," he said. "The joy of having five changes is good when things aren't going great, and it allowed us to make a couple of changes at half-time and then tweak the system.

"We caused them more problems and on another day we might have got a penalty or a tap-in from the goalkeeper's drop, but Swansea could have scored more as well.

"My opinion is skewed because I've seen the penalty incident back.

"My lads are really honest, it's a weird one with penalties, if players don't appeal the ref doesn't give them.

"They all appealed which is quite unique and I was disappointed not to get it. Did we deserve it on balance of play, probably not, but you can still play badly away from home and still get a point.

"That would have been good for us to leave here with a point when the performance wasn't up for it."

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