Russell Martin | We showed we are close to being a really good side
Russell Martin believes Swansea City have shown they are close to being a high-level Championship team after going toe to toe with automatic promotion hopefuls Bournemouth on a dramatic night at the Swansea.com Stadium.
Facing an expensively assembled Cherries squad littered with Premier League experience, the Swans had swept into a 3-0 lead courtesy of a pair of wonderful finishes from Joel Piroe and an emphatic Cyrus Christie strike after a flowing team move.
But Bournemouth found a way back into the game as Kieffer Moore headed in before Dominic Solanke struck from the spot.
And Moore then turned in an equaliser after Andy Fisher had parried a Solanke header in the final minute of the 90.
The 3-3 draw saw Swansea extend their unbeaten run to nine matches, but Martin was disappointed for his players as they missed out on a notable scalp.
“There were some outstanding moments from us tonight, that bravery and connection the players showed. I thought we were brilliant for 55 minutes,” said the head coach.
“Some of the one-touch play, and our mentality to play in tight areas was incredible, as was the connection and courage the players have to do what we are asking of them.
“They are so disappointed but I have said to them that we are really close to being a really, really good team at this level.
“We did it against Fulham for 40 minutes, we did it tonight for 55 minutes. You can see it and we have to keep growing.
“We have a young team out there on the pitch, one we want to be able to grow.
“Like I say, I am really disappointed for the players but I am so, so proud of them and what they have done.
“Going nine games unbeaten at this level is not easy."
Martin also felt some key moments and decisions had gone against his side, notably the departure to injury of Ben Cabango on his 100th appearance for the Swans, following a poor tackle from Jamal Lowe.
And the Swans boss also felt Bournemouth striker Moore should have been sent off for a clear elbow on Flynn Downes which was missed by the officials.
“Losing Ben was a massive moment for us, to lose our only defender who is over 6ft tall against a side with the athleticism and physical prowess of Bournemouth, who went really direct, is a factor,” said Martin.
“He is our most dominant player aerially.
“The penalty is a tough one to take, and then Kieffer Moore should have been sent off.
“I don’t like moaning about referees, they have a difficult job, but he has elbowed Flynn and anyone who watches the replay will see that.
“It’s not sour grapes, because Bournemouth risked it all and threw absolutely everything at it.
“We did not quite have the ability to turn the momentum, and when we had the chance to play the detail was not quite there.
“I also felt the third goal was a push on Flynn, but again if we had been able to find a bit of composure in some key moments we could have gone on and got a fourth goal.”