Maric savours cup challenge

27th September 2018
Under-21s

Adnan Maric insists Swansea City Under-23s are up for the challenge they face in the International Cup this season.

The Swedish midfielder scored a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a point for the development side against Villarreal B after Mukwelle Akale had put Spaniards ahead from the penalty spot.

The Swans had to endure plenty of pressure from the 2016 champions as striker Mario Gonzalez was denied on four separate occasions before substitute Daniel Villanueva hit the post.

But Maric hailed the young Swans' character as they held off the Segunda B side and battled to find an equaliser in the dying seconds.

“I think we deserved to take something from the game,” the 21-year-old said.

“Villarreal are a very good team at this level. They are probably one of the toughest opponents we will face this season.

“We held our ground and stood up to the challenge and took a fair point from last night’s game.

“It was a relief to get the goal. Football is not always pretty. It was a gritty performance at times, but we carried on the fight and took something from it.

“I am pleased to see we have the characters to play like that. Everyone stuck up for everyone which was great to see.”

The young Swans crashed out of the International Cup at the group stage last season after a dramatic 2-0 defeat against Athletic Bilbao.

Both Maric and team-mate Jordon Garrick were sent off on a frustrating evening against tough opponents on that occasion.

Nine months on, Maric believes the Swans have learnt from some past mistakes against European teams.

“They are very different opposition to what we are normally play against,” he continued.

“Part of their game is not only to test you physically and mentally but also to frustrate you into mistakes.

“I think we coped well on Wednesday and have learnt from last year.

“I am pleased we play in this competition because it is a learning curve and challenges us.

“Every point counts at the group stage and this result will help us going forward in our next games in this tournament.”

Swansea City Under-23s next face Manchester City's development side in Premier League 2 at Landore this Saturday (11am). Entry to watch the game is free but there is no parking at Landore.