Richards applauds U23s’ league campaign
Gary Richards believes Swansea City Under-23s can be proud of their first campaign in top-flight Premier League 2 football following a season-ending 1-0 win over Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium.
The young Swans' 11th league victory of the season helped secure a top-four finish in Division One, and they only missed out on third spot on goal difference.
George Byers' ninth goal of the campaign proved the difference in front of the Jack Army as the under-23s rounded off a superb league campaign with another solid performance.
“The win capped our league season off nicely,” Richards said
“We added momentum to a slow first half and improved to get the goal that got us the win tonight.
“Overall, it has been a pleasing season. The attitude from the players has been terrific. They have trained well and the side have delivered some great performances.
“We didn’t know what this campaign was going to be like. We expected a tough season but players have worked hard and grown into the league to earn some excellent wins and secure a strong finish.
“Players have also had the opportunity to move up to first-team level and we have brought five under-18s into the development set-up, so overall we have to be really pleased with the campaign."
Monday’s result relegated Sunderland, who had to win to survive in Division One. Meanwhile Leicester's late comeback win over Derby denied Swansea a third-place finish.
The young Swans now turn their attention to their Premier League Cup semi-final against Sheffield United, which looks set to be played on Friday, as they look to retain the title they lifted last May.
“It had been a long, tough season and it is not quite finished yet,” Richards added. “The way the players have competed in this league is testament to their hard work.
“Tonight’s victory will help us going into our Premier League Cup semi-final.
“It will be tough against Sheffield United but I think tonight’s win means we can go into the game with plenty of momentum.
“It gives us another final to fight for and it gives more opportunity for player development.”