Andy King reckons Swansea City have set the tone for the relegation run-in despite defeat at Manchester United.
The Swans went down 2-0 at Old Trafford after goals from Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez inside the first 20 minutes.
Carlos Carvalhal’s men were overpowered by United in a difficult first 45 minutes – but fought back after the break and were unlucky not go get back into the game.
Carvalhal sent on Tom Carroll and Tammy Abraham at the break, while Wayne Routledge followed soon afterwards after Sam Clucas picked up a knee injury.
All the substitutes played their part in a much-improved second-half display, with Abraham twice denied a goal which would have made things interesting by United keeper David De Gea.
And King, who has impressed in a Swans shirt since joining on loan from Leicester in January, feels Carvalhal’s team must maintain the standards set in the second 45 minutes at United as they scrap to stay up.
“I think we can take heart from the second-half performance,” the midfielder said.
“We didn’t apply ourselves in the first half as well as we know we can.
“They started brightly and because they were on it they were always going to be hard to beat. They played well first half, but we were better in the second half.
“If we play like we did in the second half between now and the end of the season, I think we will be all right.”
With United two goals up and well on top, it seemed at one stage in the first half as though the Swans could be heading for a heavy defeat.
Yet they ended up with some positives to take into next week’s crunch trip to bottom-club West Brom.
“It could come down to goal difference at the end of the season, so it was important even if we lost that we didn’t lose by too many,” King added.
“It was important we stayed in the game, not just for goal difference but to show some pride and try to get back into it.
“If we had got one goal back, it could have been a different game, but it was not to be.
“De Gea made an unbelievable save to deny Tammy – that is one of the reasons why he is the best goalkeeper in the world.”