Guidolin pleased with point
11th September 2016
Francesco Guidolin declared himself happy with a point after Swansea City played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium.
The Swans claimed a share of the spoils from a remarkable game in which they were outplayed in the first half but then led going into the closing stages.
Diego Costa put Chelsea ahead during a first half in which Antonio Conte's men were on top, with the Spanish international sweeping home from Oscar's pass.
But the home side turned the contest on its head inside three second-half minutes.
The leveller came from the penalty spot after a swift Swans counter in the 59th minute. Leroy Fer picked out Modou Barrow and he switched the ball inside for Gylfi Sigurdsson. Blues keeper Thibaut Courtois came off his line to try to clear, but referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot after the Blues keeper missed the ball and caught Sigurdsson.
The Icelander swept home his first goal of the season from the penalty spot, and Guidolin's men soon found themselves in front.
Fer, who was one of the hosts' star performers, stole possession off Gary Cahill and then rolled the ball between Courtois's legs to score, with Marriner waving away Chelsea's appeals for a foul.
The visitors surged forward in search of an equaliser, and they made it 2-2 with just nine minutes left when Costa lashed home a spectacular overhead kick.
"This game was very difficult for us because Chelsea are a very strong team," Guidolin said.
"We won against them three or four months ago, but now Chelsea are another team.
"We are happy because we changed something when my team needed a reaction.
"Probably because of the change of shape, we played in the second half with more aggression, energy and intensity, and in the end we are happy with the result.
"This result is important for us. Chelsea did not deserve to lose, but we deserved something because we fought in the second half and played with more intensity.
"We have to improve, this is sure, but this point is important for us.
"Now we can work in the week to get better with enthusiasm and optimism."
The Swans started with a rejigged team, with Stephen Kingsley lining up as one of three central defenders while Neil Taylor and Kyle Naughton began as wing-backs.
But Guidolin changed the system again four minutes before half-time, withdrawing Taylor and sending on Barrow.
After the break, the Swans played a more familiar shape, with two wide men - Barrow on one flank and Sigurdsson on the other - and a flat back four.
"(Jefferson) Montero has been away in the international break and only rejoined us at the last moment so it's very hard for him," Guidolin said when asked to explain his change of approach.
"I decided, with my assistants and Alan (Curtis), that it was the right moment to change something.
"We can play again with this system. In my opinion, we played well in the first 20 minutes - although we can do it better - but after they scored, we didn't play well.
"At that moment I decided we needed another change because the team needed a reaction."
Guidolin revealed that he had apologised to Taylor over the decision to substitute him before the break, conceding that he might have waited until the interval to switch his side's set-up.
"I am sorry to Neil because I am not used to changing players before half-time," he said.
"Maybe I should have waited until half-time - it would have been better for him.
"But Mo had been ready to come on for five minutes so we had already made the decision to change.
"There is no problem between me and Neil. I spoke to him in the dressing room and it's no problem."