23:02 12th December 2013
. . . defender reflects on defeat in Switzerland as Swans reach last 32 of Europa League
Neil Taylor insisted there was plenty of room for improvement as the Swans qualified for the knockout phase of the Europa League.
Despite a 1-0 defeat in Switzerland against St Gallen, Michael Laudrup’s side finished second in Group A and reached the next stage alongside group winners Valencia.
The Swans went close to opening the scoring as Roland Lamah twice went close in the first half but the home side enjoyed the better of a foggy second period.
After Gerhard Tremmel made two fine stops and a goal was disallowed, the Swiss side grabbed their winner with ten minutes to play at the AFG Arena.
But it was enough to see the Swans through after third-placed Kuban Krasnodar could only draw with Valencia in Spain.
However, Taylor believes that there is still plenty of work to do before the last 32 starts in the spring.
“We’ll probably enjoy that (qualification) in a couple of days once we’ve reflected,” he said. “But it is a bittersweet at the moment in terms of how we feel about the game itself.
“We should have got the result we needed, not relying on others. We switched off and it could have cost us in the end.
“But it was a difficult game. The pitch wasn’t that flat so we had to really concentrate, and a lot of passes went astray.
“We could have scored in the first half, and they will probably say the same. A 0-0 draw would have been a fair result, but we didn’t really look like scoring towards the end.
“But overall, I think we can be happy and we now look forward to the next phase.”
Preparation for Thursday’s game was disrupted due to a seven-hour delay at Cardiff Airport as both fog and technical difficulties took hold.
The temperature inside the AFG Arena dropped to around -3 prior to kick-off, with both sides trying to adapt to the difficult conditions.
However, despite the defeat, Swansea reached the knockout phase of European competition for the first time and they now await Monday’s draw to see who they will face in the last 32.
“The fog played its part, but the red ball certainly helped a lot but it was very cold and that can have an effect on your lungs,” said Taylor, who captained the side in place in Ashley Williams.
“I’m not entirely sure who we can get in the next round, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
“The fans were brilliant as well. I hope they enjoyed it; I know the result wasn’t great, but I hope they’ve enjoyed the trip and hopefully we can now get a nice tie in the next round.”