Michael O’Neill was left raving over birthday boy Jaden Philogene-Bidace after the youngster inspired Stoke’s 3-0 Championship victory over 10-man Swansea.
The Aston Villa loanee marked his 20th birthday with an impressive display, proving a constant thorn in the travelling Swans side before eventually breaking the deadlock after the interval.
Philogene-Bidace’s strike opened the floodgates for a dominant Potters side, who doubled their advantage from the penalty spot through Lewis Baker after Ryan Bennett handled the ball on the line and was shown a red card.
It took 77 minutes for Russell Martin’s side to register an effort on target and a miserable evening in the Midlands was compounded when Jacob Brown added a late third.
Stoke boss O’Neill said: “(Philogene-Bidace) is a good player, he’s getting sharp, he’s dynamic and he does a lot of work off the ball as well.
“The other thing we like about him is that he’s brave; he puts himself in dangerous situations. I knew I was getting a good player, Steven Gerrard told me I was getting a good player and we certainly haven’t been disappointed.
“It was a really good performance altogether. From start to finish, I thought we dominated from the off.
“I was disappointed we weren’t ahead at half-time but scoring early in the second half and then getting another after the red card, the game was done at that point.
“I think we’ve played well recently without getting what we’ve deserved. I felt we deserved more against Huddersfield and Fulham and tonight we got what we deserved.
“The team looks rejuvenated and fresh and we’ve got to maintain that between now and the end of the season.”
A frustrated Swansea boss Russell Martin said: “It’s not good enough. We didn’t start the game well.
“Saturday has taken a lot emotionally, physically and mentally out of the guys. We just haven’t got enough players who can play relentlessly throughout a busy schedule.
“We were forced into a lot of changes and we paid the price.
“There wasn’t enough intensity and there was a lack of quality on the ball, which hasn’t been the case for so long.
“We started the second half so poorly, which is unacceptable. We tried to make a couple of changes, but then Benno (Bennett) gets sent off and that’s the game done. It’s damage limitation at that point.
“The boys stuck at it and gave everything they’ve got, but we’ve come against an aggressive, really athletic and experienced team.
“If you look at our team, it’s very young and very inexperienced, different to theirs and we paid the price for it. This team is going to look physically very different next season.”
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