Russell Martin | We let our intensity levels drop

8th January 2023
First team

Russell Martin admitted his Swansea City side had been unable to maintain the intensity of their dominant first-half showing in their 1-1 draw at Bristol City in the third round of the FA Cup.

The Swans had led at the interval, Joel Piroe firing home his ninth goal of the season after Liam Cullen had picked off a poor pass by Robins defender Rob Atkinson.

It was a lead the visitors merited, and they were comfortable for long periods of the opening half.

But the hosts grew into the game after the break, committing bodies forward in search of an equaliser, and ensured a replay would be needed after Antoine Semenyo headed home.

All of which left Martin happy with how his side had performed in periods, but disappointed they could not maintain those levels over the 90 minutes.

“I thought we were brilliant in the first half. We had so much intensity, I thought we tried to threaten a bit too much and a bit too early at times,” he said.

“We should have had more sustained attacks probably, but I thought some of the build-up play was incredible.

“We needed to make more of the moments when we get into the box. The players were in a bit of a rush, and there was a slight lack of quality.

“But the composure the boys at the back showed in the first half was incredible. We limited them to very little, if anything at all, and we really liked the aggression we showed and the willingness to run.

“We scored one, but we probably should have made more of those situations.

“So, we were really pleased at half-time. We spoke about maintaining the aggression and intensity in the second half.

“Bristol changed shape and threw caution to the wind, but we should have killed the game off – we didn’t have the quality to do that.

“When it’s 1-0, it allowed them to gamble and throw more numbers forward and we didn’t show enough aggression and willingness to play forward.

“The guys at the back needed a bit more help in possession and then we have a couple of players who dip in intensity - that’s on us as a coaching staff, maybe we worked them a bit too hard this week after the three games in six days.

“But we felt it was a good opportunity to build on two positive performances and we did carry that on in the first half.

“Steven didn’t really have anything to do really in the second half, but we have to pose more of a threat in the second half and we didn’t do that because there wasn’t the same intensity and willingness to run, and that’s frustrating because we need to do better there and we need to try to kill the game off by getting the second goal.

“The goal we concede is a soft one, so it’s frustrating, but there’s loads of positives to take from it and we’re still in the hat for the next round, we have a chance at home now.”