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Swansea City 1 v 3 Manchester City
FA Cup
Wednesday, 10th February 2021 Kick-off 17:30
It’s no embarrassment, just a learning curve for Cooper and our young players.
Thursday, 11th Feb 2021 11:25 by Steph Thomas

Some would say too much respect was paid early on to Manchester City tonight in the FA Cup fifth round tie at the Liberty - as the citizens came and played their usual impressive game. It seems, just like last Friday when Cooper out thought Norwich City that Pep Guardiola did exactly the same in a master class performance. However, the swans were not to be denied a bit of glory.

Numerous changes were made by the swans with Hourihane and Ayew, along with Ryan Bennett all being left out as Cooper gave his younger and less included players an opportunity. It was evident from the start that the tactics from the swans were slightly flawed. Too much respect was paid to the Man City side and a defensive plan, albeit fruitful for 25 minutes was potentially the wrong decision. We will disagree here I’m sure. Testament to that were the wholesale changes Cooper made seeing three debutants having some game time in the second half. As those changes were announced some swans fans would have been somewhat perplexed as Freeman, Bidwell, Ariola and Whittaker replaced Lowe, Morris, Guehi and Roberts. However, what else could the swans do ? If they had gone gung ho from the off it could have been a disaster. Either way, no matter your thoughts, lots was learned.

The goals
If the first goal was a little soft, it was no more than the visitors deserved given their control. A Swansea revival looked unlikely, and any slim home hopes were quickly extinguished in the second half. First Sterling found time and space to roll a shot low into the bottom corner of the net, then Jesus turned and steered home from close range. Swansea's application was rewarded late on when Whittaker, who had only been on the pitch 12 minutes, finished smartly from Ryan Manning's cross.

Cooper and Guardiola

Pep Guardiola
"And we think of the next one. I know we broke a record of all-time. To do what we have done so far is quite remarkable. The record will be broken for sure, because sports is like this, but it means a lot, to do what we have done in the winter time and Christmas time is quite remarkable. "It is the toughest time, but what is important is the way we are still playing with our consistency. Very pleased for the way the team performed, all of them. We were comfortable with the ball but every time the Swansea team broke they pressed - they're a strong team. We take the game seriously and control the strong points and created lots of chances. In general we played well."

Steve Cooper
It was a really difficult task going into it anyway, and it proved to be that. In the first half the tone of the was set fairly quickly. But we did have some half-decent moments in the first half, Jay Fulton's header, the corner we looked a threat and we should have done better from, but at half time, it was just about staying in the game and maybe some of those moments would arrive as the game went on. Ironically, it did with Morgan's goal, but we were naive with how we started the second half, particularly the goals we gave away, and a really tough challenge became massively tough after that and the game saw itself out. To be 3-0 after 50 minutes, it's a real test of character, it can go one way or the other. We certainly didn’t hide. The rhythm of the game stayed the same, but we kept going. We didn't concede another goal and we scored a goal. "There wasn't one sign of any players - I know we made changes - hiding from the challenge. I think that's a really good sign of mentality, and we got some new players on the pitch, Morgan takes his goal, and that's really good for him. We’ve got to play against and see one of the best teams in the world live. "We will always learn from what we do, in the tough moments as well as the highs and we'll look to take it into our game going forward.

Cooper congratulates Phil Foden

Manchester City are not only the form side in the premier league they are the form side in Europe, putting salaries and status aside this was never going to be easy. Cooper and Marsh decided that Saturday was the important game, and very few swans fans will disagree. Three points at Hillsborough is the tonic the swans need after a lesson in passing movement by Manchester City. The first goal was a soft one but the send and third were as a result of being outplayed, you have to put your hands up. Swansea had no answer on the bench with the changes Cooper made with Ayew and Hourihane being kept fit for Saturday. Albeit Hourihane’s brief appearance for the last fifteen minutes. The real issue for this side is the power required up front. Ayew would clearly have made a difference, but what do we really want ? Ayew commanding matters on Saturday or adding some form of strength up front tonight ?

That’s the call.

One thing that was noticeable is the refereeing and the total lack of allowance for players to play anything more than non contact. Cabango and Dhanda found this out with yellow cards. It’s no longer a physical game. Bright point has to be Morgan Whittaker on his debut, one of Cooper’s army of years gone by, he took his opportunity well. The other thing has to be Steve Cooper, in his post match interview he looked slightly shocked, he did though gather himself well reflecting on crucial areas which lost the game for him and looking forward to a far more important game on Saturday. Sheffield Wednesday away in the league.

Swansea picked up two yellow cards

Swansea City Woodman; Latibeaudiere, Cabango, Guehi (Bidwell 66); Roberts (Freeman 66), Grimes (C), Fulton, Dhanda (Hourihane 76), Manning; Morris (Whittaker 66), Lowe (Arriola 66).

Subs not used: Webb, Bennett, Naughton, Ayew.

Goal: Whittaker 77

Yellow cards: Cabango 37, Dhanda 70

Man City Steffen; Walker, Garcia, Laporte, Mendy; Rodrigo (Gomes 72), Gundogan (Doyle 57), Bernardo (Foden 66); Torres, Sterling (C) (Mahrez 57), Jesus.

Subs not used: Ederson, Stones, Zinchenko, Cancelo, Bernabe.

Goals: Walker 30, Sterling 47, Jesus 50

Referee: Peter Bankes

Photo: Action Images

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