Bob Bradley salutes Swansea City players
26th November 2016
Bob Bradley heaped praise on his players after Swansea City beat Crystal Palace 5-4 in one of the most remarkable games in their history to climb off the bottom of the Premier League.
The Swans looked close to home and dry when they led 3-1 with 15 minutes to go.
But Palace then scored three times in nine minutes to leave the Swans staring at one of their most painful top-flight defeats.
Yet in an astonishing climax, Fernando Llorente equalised in the 90th minute and then scored again in the third minute of the stoppage time to earn Bradley his first Swans win and lift his team up to 19th in the table.
"When I saw a deflection off Jack Cork go into the top corner of the net (to make it 3-3), there's a moment when you think this team just needs some luck," said the Swans boss.
"But in the end, the character of the players came through, and I am very happy for them. They deserve so much credit.
"It's been a difficult season so far, there have been a lot of things that just didn't bounce the right way and we have just come off that crazy late goal at Everton.
"But the players still show up every day with a really good mentality. I love working with them and I couldn't be happier for them.
"Having said that, there are things we need to look at. Set-pieces turn game around. They helped us take the lead here and they were a big part of us looking at the wrong side of a 4-3 defeat.
"But I still want to focus on players who, at the most difficult moment in the Liberty today, showed real character.
"That's going to pay off for them because it's there, and I know we are going to continue to see it as we move forward."
Palace scored the first of the game's nine goals arrived after 19 minutes when Christian Benteke flicked on and Wiflried Zaha drilled home from close range.
The Swans went in level at the break thanks to a fabulous 37th-minute free-kick from Gylfi Sigurdsson.
But it was in the second half that the drama really started.
Leroy Fer put the Swans in front for the first time on 66 minutes when Llorente met Sigurdsson's corner with a header which was cleared off the line by Yohan Cabaye - who appeared to use his hand - and the Dutchman reacted fastest to sweep home.
And the home crowd could smell victory three minutes later when Sigurdsson's free-kick was steered in at the far post by Fer.
But Swans nerves began jangling when Cabaye's 75th-minute corner led to James Tomkins bundling home.
And the Bradley's men were left reeling when, on 82 minutes, Cork tried to block Zaha's cross and his header looped over Lukasz Fabianski and inside the far post.
Things got even worse two minutes later when another corner was met by Scott Dann and this time Benteke hooked the ball home via both posts.
The Liberty was stunned, but the Swans dug deep and found an equaliser in the last minute of normal time when Sigurdsson's well-struck shot was flicked into the net by Llorente.
And incredibly, the winner came in the third minute of stoppage time as Fede Fernandez touched Sigurdsson's free-kick into the danger area and Llorente poked home his second goal.
"I think in many ways this can be a turning point," Bradley added.
"Sometimes you need something crazy that changes your luck, and maybe this can be that moment.
"It's a positive reinforcement for the work we do. From the day I arrived, the players have turned up every day with a good mentality - but that doesn't automatically translate to points, especially in the Premier League.
"I can't say enough about these players are all about. They have an extra day off, they have earned that, but we'll continue to work and look at the things we should do better."
Bradley also had a word for the Swans' supporters, adding: "Today was the loudest I have heard the Liberty and that was great to see.
"I am excited for the fans as well as the players."