Steve Cooper reflects on "painful" semi-final defeat
Steve Cooper felt his Swansea City side had paid the price for defensive errors in their “painful” play-off semi-final defeat to Brentford at Griffin Park.
The Swans had headed to west London with a 1-0 lead from the first leg, but goals from Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Marcondes and Bryan Mbuemo gave the Bees a 3-0 advantage just after half-time.
Rhian Brewster’s 11th goal of the season gave the visitors hope of sending the tie to extra-time, but they fell agonisingly short of netting again to level the aggregate score.
And head coach Cooper admitted there was a lot of hurt being felt in the Swans dressing room after seeing their promotion hopes ended, and acknowledged they had given themselves too much to do.
“We gave ourselves too much to do, we did not play well enough in the first half and were not aggressive enough in our play, with and without the ball,” said the Swans boss.
“We ended up being too deep, and we left too much space and allowed them opportunities to attack.
“The goals are really disappointing. The first is from our free-kick, and the second and third ones – they are good finishes - but you cannot leave people unmarked in the box like that.
“We did not give up. We went right to the end, but we gave ourselves too much to do.
“We changed some of the personnel at half-time to try and get some impetus, but then we go and concede and you cannot do that. It was the killer blow.
“I did think we would score and create chances, and we did. We got into good areas and got a lifeline through Rhian.
“But we conceded poor goals and it cost us.
“It is painful at the moment, when you are in a semi-final with everything to play for you can only be disappointed.
“It’s difficult to see past the defeat because we really believed we could do it, and we just fell short on some of the stuff we ask for every single game.”