Yan Dhanda praises Swansea City's battling instincts
Yan Dhanda praised Swansea City for showing the gritty side of their game after Steve Cooper’s side bounced back to winning ways against Barnsley at the Liberty Stadium.
The Swans responded to their midweek defeat to Derby in the perfect way as Jamal Lowe’s strike within 72 seconds and an own goal from Victor Adeboyejo via Matt Grimes’ corner saw off the Reds in SA1.
Victory moved the Swans up to third in the Championship – two points off second-placed Bournemouth.
In difficult conditions, Cooper’s side steered away from their free-flowing football and went more direct as they adjusted to the tricky conditions on a day where the Liberty pitch was replaced with a new surface soon after the final whistle.
It was a tactical switch that caught Barnsley boss Valerian Ismael off guard, and Dhanda - who was clattered by Reds keeper Jack Walton after beating him to a loose ball in the first half - was full of praise for his team-mates.
“It wasn’t a pretty game, but we knew it wouldn’t be,” said Dhanda, who made his 12th appearance of the season.
“We said at the start that the most important thing was to bounce back from Derby and get three points. We’ve done that so everyone’s happy and it gives us good confidence going to QPR.
“At the start of the game – and even in training on Friday – we knew it was going to be scrappy, especially with the weather and pitch. We knew if we battled and stuck together that we’d get the three points. Jamal scored a good goal and Grimes’ corner ended up in the goal. It’s what we worked on.”
Victory was made all the more impressive with the Swans recording their 11 clean sheet of the campaign.
Their solid defensive efforts mean the Swans have conceded the fewest goals (12) in the EFL, while Manchester City are the only team to match that though they have played seven fewer top-flight matches.
And attacking midfielder Dhanda believes the defensive resilience shown by the whole team is reaping its rewards.
“Everyone high up the pitch is starting the press trying to defend,” said the 22-year-old. “Then, the defenders and midfielders speak for themselves. The record is unbelievable and for us at the top of pitch, knowing we have good players behind us that are going to keep clean sheets gives us confidence when we’re on the ball.
“We haven’t lost in a while at the Liberty. We enjoy getting wins here and it would be even better if the fans were here. They’re not, but we know that they’re watching and supporting us. For us to keep getting wins at the Liberty must make them happy.
“We can see what we need to work on. Because we have a week until the next game, we can spend time with our families, reflect on the games and be fresh and ready to go against QPR on Boxing Day. I think this is going to be a good week for us.
“After last Saturday – we’ve got the three points and a clean sheet – I think everybody who’s on the pitch and in the squad will be going into the next game feeling confident that we can win. It would be a good Christmas present for us and the fans to get another three points there.”