Defensive resilience a big plus for Steve Cooper
Steve Cooper was pleased to see his young defence show experience and resilience beyond their years in Swansea City’s winning start to the Championship season.
The Swans kept a clean sheet at Deepdale on Saturday to ensure a Morgan Gibbs-White goal gave them all three points against Preston.
The visitors kept the hosts at arm’s length for much of the afternoon, but needed to be alert to see off a late onslaught from the Lilywhites.
But, apart from a Tom Barkhuizen chance that was saved by Freddie Woodman, there were no real moments of alarm for a three-man defence of Ben Cabango, Joe Rodon and Marc Guehi.
Head coach Cooper knows it is a long season, and there will be ups and downs over the course of 46 days.
But he felt the Swans had made an impressive start when it came to their attitude and application without the ball.
“The three centre-halves are such young boys. Joe is the oldest in there and he is 22. They are still kids really, and to be dealing with the experience of Preston in the latter stage of the game was excellent,” said Cooper of a three-man backline with a combined age of 62.
“Ben had only played a 60-minute game with us before the Preston game. He had been away with Wales. It was great he got his cap although he did not get many minutes, but we understand that.
“It was a big shout to put him in to play 90 minutes, but I thought the back three and Freddie were really good without the ball and showed a lot of commitment.
“A 1-0 win away from home is brilliant, you get a goal and get a clean sheet. The way we did it was impressive.
“They did not get near the goal really in the first half, there was nothing of note for Freddie to deal with.
“Then, late in the second half, there were constant balls into the box, and the law of averages tends to tell you they might get a goal, a free-kick or penalty, or Freddie has to make a save.
“But there was none of that, I felt as a unit we were defensively sound. It’s excellent to get a clean sheet.
“The boys showed experience beyond their years, but there will be ups and downs.
“It was a great result, but there will be times where they make little mistakes and we will stick with them and grow through that and try and get better.”