Carvalhal hails winning start

30th December 2017
First team

Carlos Carvalhal saluted his players’ spirit after Swansea City pulled off a sensational late fightback to win at Watford in his first game in charge.

The Swans looked to be heading for defeat having huffed and puffed but struggled to find a response to Andre Carrillo’s 11th-minute goal.

But Carvalhal’s men kept pushing for an equaliser and ended up claiming only a fourth Premier League victory of the season thanks to a dramatic finale.

Jordan Ayew levelled the scores on 86 minutes after Oli McBurnie had nodded down fellow substitute Luciano Narsingh’s cross.

And in the last minute of normal time, Nathan Dyer’s crisp long-range effort was only parried by Hornets keeper Heurelho Gomes and Narsingh swept home the rebound to spark huge celebrations among the travelling players and fans.

“We tried everything at the end to win the game,” Carvalhal said.

“We had two attackers, two wingers, (Renato) Sanches in the middle and (Martin) Olsson playing as another left-winger.

“We tried everything to win, but if the players don’t play with commitment and heart, we will not win.

“Also, our fans were crucial because we felt their support, especially in the second half.

“We put more players in attack at the end. The players believed and we achieved an important three points.

“Because we won, it doesn’t mean everything was perfect, but there are a lot of positives from today and I believe we will grow as a team.

“I don’t think one win means we will be in paradise, with lots of birds and flowers.

“But confidence will be higher and as we get a clearer of how we want to play, I believe we will pick up more points.”

The Swans almost took the lead early on at Vicarage Road when Ayew’s long-range drive crashed off the bar.

But having fallen behind, the Swans’ hopes of getting a result began to fade as they struggled to create clear-cut chances.

That all changed in the dying minutes, though, as the Swans sealed a win which lifts them off the bottom of the table.

“It was a difficult game against a strong team,” Carvalhal added.

“We started with four midfielders to try to confuse Watford. We tried to play our wingers inside with our two strikers wide to try to stop their full-backs.

“We didn’t achieve exactly what we wanted in the first half, but we started to stabilise the game after 20 minutes.

“We brought Luciano on to give us some more pace – we started to do things to win.

“There were some moments of luck for both teams. We hit the crossbar when if we’d scored, our strategy would have been more effective.

“Then Lukasz (Fabianski) made a fantastic save when face to face with (Andre) Gray. That moment was crucial.”

As well as Narsingh, Carvalhal threw on McBurnie and Dyer in the closing stages – and he felt all three played their part in the turnaround.

“They all had an impact,” he said.

The Swans are waiting for news on Tammy Abraham after he was forced off at Watford with what is thought to have been a stomach problem.