Carvalhal proud despite defeat

2nd January 2018
First team

Carlos Carvalhal spoke of his pride in his players after a 2-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in his first home game as Swansea City boss.

The Swans felt hard done by on a night when they produced a spirited performance despite being without a number of senior stars.

Two key refereeing decisions went against the home side, with former Swans striker Fernando Llorente heading Spurs in front early on after the officials failed to spot that he was a yard offside.

Having been booked in the first half, Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez escaped a second yellow card early in the second period after scything down Martin Olsson.

Tellingly, Mauricio Pochettino responded by immediately substituting his centre-back.

The Swans pushed hard for an equaliser as the game wore on, with Mike van der Hoorn going closest when his deflected header hit the post.

Carvalhal spoke at length with the officials at full time, and hinted at his disappointment over the big calls which went against his team.

But the Portuguese was quick to praise his players for the desire and discipline they showed.

“I have just arrived in the Premier League and I don’t want to start talking about the referees, but there are two points I can make,” Carvalhal said.

“One, the linesman apologised at the end of the game about the first goal. I understand it’s a mistake and we all make them.

“Secondly, I think Pochettino is a clever manager – he substituted Sanchez at that moment.

“He is clever. He knows why. After this I don’t talk about anything (to do with the referee).

“I am very happy with my players, with the commitment, the attitude and the organisation they showed.

“I am very happy with what they did so far. It was a difficult situation tonight. We played three days ago but Tottenham played six days ago. That makes a massive difference.

“We also had a lot of injured players. But while we got a bit of luck against Watford, we didn’t get any luck tonight.”

The Swans pushed Tottenham right up until Alli’s 89th-minute goal sealed the visitors’ victory.

And though he felt his team should have done better on the ball in the opening 45 minutes, Carvalhal was pleased with their overall effort.

“We had a problem in attack. We didn’t have any strikers so that’s why we tried to block Tottenham in the first half,” he added.

“I thought we did that okay – I don’t think Lukasz (Fabianski) had to make a save.

“Tottenham had a lot more possession, but we defended well. The negative in the first half was that we must keep the ball better and we have to be better in the transitions.

“The second half was completely different. We started putting attacking players on – Oliver (McBurnie), Luciano (Narsingh) and Wayne (Routledge).

“We finished with two strikers, two wingers and Renato (Sanches) and (Sam) Clucas in the middle.

“We created two very clear situations to score. That was our moment in the game but the goal did not come.

“Then as we pushed up the field some more spaces opened up and Tottenham scored a second.”