. . . as Swans come from behind to draw against Villa
Michael Laudrup was pleased with his side’s character as the Swans scored in stoppage time to secure a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.
The home side carved out a host of chances in the opening quarter of the game, with Wayne Routledge giving Swansea the lead before both he and Michu wasted two good chances apiece.
Danny Graham also lashed a shot wide when well placed before the visitors levelled on the stroke of half-time through Andreas Wiemann’s neat finish.
In a lively second period, Villa looked set for all three points when Christian Benteke tucked home a penalty with six minutes to play, but Graham netted his second goal in as many games to earn Laudrup’s men a point.
“We were great in the first half,” he said. “We created lots of chances, scored the goal and they were only near our goal a couple of times.
“But one mistake can level the game, and that’s exactly what happened as we gave them (Aston Villa) the belief that they could get something from the game.
“The second half was more even, we showed good character to come back and we’ve done that a lot this season.
“But it’s better to lose two points than three.”
The result represented a positive festive period for Swansea, who picked up six points from four games.
The run began with hard-fought draws against Manchester United and Reading, before Saturday’s win at Fulham moved Laudrup’s men onto 28 points for the season.
And following the 2-2 draw against Villa, the Swans boss revealed he was delighted with the way his side have played in a testing period.
“The attitude and focus in the first half was great,” he said. “It was our fourth game in ten days and I’ve been very pleased with what I have seen.
“But to have six points, and no defeats, is great for us.”
Laudrup made five changes to the side that won at Fulham, as Michel Vorm, Chico Flores, Ben Davies and Leon Britton returned to the starting line-up.
Danny Graham kept his place as the lone striker while top scorer Michu sat behind him to lend support going forward.
And it paid dividends for the home side as Graham struck in injury time to score his second goal in as many games.
“His movement was much better and I know his goal on Saturday gave him confidence,” said Laudrup.
“He played very well against Fulham in a difficult game. Today he didn’t have too many chances but his goal has given us a point.”
Meanwhile, the result left Villa just two points clear of the drop zone after stopping a run of three straight defeats.
And boss Paul Lambert was delighted with the way his side responded after coming under some intense pressure in the first half at the Liberty Stadium.
“It’s a huge point for us,” he said. “But we should have seen the game through.
“It was a massive turnaround for us in the second half, because Swansea came at us from all angles in the first period.
“The goal before half-time certainly helped us, but the young lads have been excellent and today showed me that they are mentally strong.”