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Russell Martin in focus after an invigorating Swansea City win
Sunday, 23rd Jan 2022 10:24 by Keith Haynes

Russell Martin looked a relieved but happy man post match when he assessed yesterday’s game for the first time. The 1-0 win against a rugged and determined Preston North End has been a while coming, but is this the turning point for the swans stop, start season ?

Martin is slowly putting together a side that can adopt his style of play and change of tactics, Cyrus Christie was clear evidence of that yesterday. Once again the swans looked comfortable on the ball and despite Preston’s attempts to kick players off the ball it was a valuable win. Olivier Ntcham had to retire hurt which saw Hannes Wolf make an earlier debut than expected, but he too showed glimpses of class.

Some say the best wins are wins like these, the gritty, determined ninety minutes as opposed to the easier games when you play the likes of Peterborough or Cardiff. If there is a criticism of the swans yesterday it would be the build up was too slow at times, and possession took over from risk, and risk is meant to be the ‘Martin Mantra’ When the game opened up the swans really should have monopolised on the chances they had.

Martin however was as open as ever in his evaluation of the game “There is a lot of relief at the end of a tough period. I was so pleased for the supporters because they have been so patient and understanding of what is going on here,” said the Swans boss. There has been a lot of change, and change can be messy and scary at times. But there is a big understanding and an awareness of the long-term view for the team and the vision and identity we are trying to bring to the team. So, it’s great to give them moments like that. The atmosphere was brilliant, especially in that second half and the boys just fed off that”

We know how much Martin enjoys the fans and players being as one on a match day, and that’s another mantra he often references, “It would have been a very different game without them in the stadium, so we are grateful to have them back and we hope it stays that way. It’s been a really difficult period for our players to manage and I am sure it has been the same for the supporters missing those emotions that we know football can bring. But we were so pleased to all be back together again and celebrate it with a win.”

A tough hard fought game resulted in a 1-0 swans win

On the game itself he didn’t hide his pleasure at some of his key team members performances. I am really pleased for Ryan, I love Ryan as a character and as a player,” said the Swans boss. He is really important to what we do, playing in a position I think a lot of people have been surprised to see him play in. I think he has grown in a lot of ways since the start of the season and he is a young man who knows he still has plenty of room for improvement. I am so pleased for him, he deserves a moment like that because it was a superb strike to win a game.He knows what I feel about him and what he is capable of and what we need to do to get the best out of him. I enjoyed the goal, and I think everyone else did too.”

Swans Indie man of the match Flynn Downes

It was obvious too Martin wasn’t going to escape questions about Hannes Wolf. The Austrian showed flashes of what he could be capable of high up the pitch while his work rate defensively was massively encouraging. "I thought he was excellent. He showed real glimpses," said Russell Martin when asked about the display of Swansea's latest signing. "It's going to take a while to get up to speed with the Championship. He showed moments of real quality. Out of possession he did a really important job for us and he's going to get better and better with games and conditioning."

The win yesterday was just the boost the swans needed as they head in to a quick turn around for Tuesday nights game against Queens Park Rangers in London.

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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