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Sport Steve Cooper's glowing tribute to Andre Ayew and 'ridiculous athlete' as Swansea City show vital attributes to beat Blackburn Rovers

21:05  31 october  2020
21:05  31 october  2020 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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Steve Cooper admits he's pleased Swansea City were able to win ugly after battling their way to a 2-0 triumph over Blackburn Rovers.

The Swans were far from their fluid best at times but ultimately clinched all three points thanks to headers from Ben Cabango and Andre Ayew.

Swansea's defensive effort against a side that have scored a league high of 18 goals was remarkable though, with Freddie Woodman keeping a fifth clean sheet of the campaign against Tony Mowbray's men.

And Cooper believes his side showed some vital attributes to secure victory against Blackburn.

"It was a tough game. All games will be now, just because of the nature of the schedule," said the head coach.

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"The first half wasn't the prettiest, truth be told. We took a while to settle.

"But, second half I thought we were better. The game was played more in Blackburn's half which was the message at half time, to press the ball more and run more than we did in the first half, and I thought we did that.

"Not every game can be the purest, I think some times you have to accept that, even though that's what we aim for.

"But it's also a good sign that in them games, you can keep a clean sheet against a team that have scored more goals and had more shots than any other team so far. We showed some good attributes today to win the game of football."

Victory lifted Swansea up to second in the Championship table ahead of their back-to-back away matches against Brentford and Norwich City.

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Cooper yet again made changes to his side from the 2-0 triumph over Stoke City, with Jake Bidwell, Korey Smitn and goal scorer Cabango coming in for Ryan Manning, Matt Grimes and Ryan Bennett.

And the head coach reserved special praise for wing-backs Bidwell and Connor Roberts who wreaked havoc in wide areas against Rovers.

"Bidders didn't play in the last game, Ryan Manning came in and did well. I think we've got really good options in that part of the pitch," he said.

"Connor is a ridiculous athlete if I'm being honest. He could play again tomorrow and hit the same numbers.

"Don't worry about his legs too much, even though we've still got another couple of games to play this week and then he'll go away with Wales.

"He's a little bit in a category of his own, and Bidders isn't far behind him either, which is a credit to how professional they are.

"I think we're looking fit at the moment, and I think that's really important at this stage of the season, but going forward as well, because after the international break, there's so many games, but it's all about Tuesday night now."

Cooper also paid tribute to goal scorer Ayew who captained the Swans in the absence of regular skipper Grimes.

"He's vice-captain, so with Grimesy not playing, which was strange I guess for people not seeing him on the pitch, Andre took the armband," he said.

"I don't think much changed really because he's always 100% committed, he's always a big talker in the dressing room.

"But in terms of his performance, he did play like a captain. Not just with the goal, but the way he ran in the second half.

"He's in really good physical condition at the moment. That's really paying off for him and for everybody else."

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