Russell Martin | We are committed to helping and improving our talented young players
Head coach Russell Martin says the focus has to be on continuing to support and develop his young Swansea City squad after the morale-boosting victory over Queens Park Rangers.
The Swans returned to winning ways with a gritty display against the Rs; Joel Piroe slotting home the winner early on and the hosts showing real character to see the game out having endured so much late heartbreak in recent months.
The resolve shown was all the more impressive when you consider the Swans possess one of the youngest squads in the Championship, with Blackpool and Blackburn the only two sides regularly naming starting line-ups with a lower average age.
Of all the starting XIs named in the Championship so far this term (185), all of Swansea's rank inside the 50 with the lowest average age.
Indeed, the Swansea team on the pitch at the end of the win over QPR included four players aged 20 and under (Nathan Wood, Luke Cundle, Armstrong Oko-Flex and Fin Stevens), and had an average age of just 23.
The Swans have regularly fielded teams including seven players aged just 23 or under, but Martin and his staff have faith in the ability of the squad and are determined to help them assimilate to the demands of the Championship as soon as possible given only eight of Saturday's 18-man squad had 50 or more second-tier appearances under their belts.
“We have to get behind these young men and try and help them get there quickly,” he said.
“We want to accelerate the development of the people we have in the building.
“We will get behind people that want to be here and work so hard to bring this club the success they want. We have a group that reflects that and buys into that.
“That is all that is happening. We came here when a lot of others did not want to because they knew what was happening.
“That is it. We have a very clear philosophy, a clear style of play, a really young group and we have a plan we feel is sustainable.
“We have young men who are living these moments for the first time, the same as some of them were last season, but we are going to get there and we will help them get there. They want to get there.
“So, everyone has a choice, this is the situation we are in. I am in charge of the team, it is my responsibility. But the players will grow and come together and be stronger.
“I think you could see in how the players really dug in and showed such character against QPR that they are so desperate to do well for this club.
“We had a lot of young men out there, especially at the end, but we know from working with them day to day the talent they have, and what they are like as people.
“The senior lads are also working to help the younger players by passing on their experience because they have been through good moments and difficult moments and they understand how to navigate those challenges.
“We love what the whole group are giving us and we are all going to keep working hard together to get better.”