Skip to main content

Steve Cooper likes what he sees from Swansea and stand-in skipper Andre Ayew

Fulham v Swansea City – Sky Bet Championship – Craven Cottage
(Image credit: Bradley Collyer)

Swansea manager Steve Cooper paid tribute to Andre Ayew after the stand-in skipper helped ensure back-to-back victories for the club.

Ayew’s powerful 61st-minute header followed Ben Cabango’s equally forceful effort from a corner in the 25th minute to seal a 2-0 home win over Blackburn and stretch the Swans’ unbeaten run to four games, with no goals conceded in the last two.

That surge has lifted Swansea to second place in the Sky Bet Championship table, four points behind leaders Reading.

The win also ensured Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray’s barren return as a boss against Swansea has now stretched to seven winless matches.

“Andre is a leader, regardless of whether or not he wears the armband,” said Cooper.

“He always stands up and leads by example. He’s a massive influence at this club.

“Not every game can be the purest, I think sometimes you have to accept that even though that’s what we aim for.

“But it’s also a good sign that in those games you can keep a clean sheet against a team that has scored more goals and had more shots than any other team so far. ”

Cooper continued: “It was a fantastic header from Cabango. You look at him and you can see he’s a guy who is more than capable of doing that.

“We showed some good attributes today to win the game of football. 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.”

Swansea were not at their free-flowing best, but with goalkeeper Freddie Woodman in solid form and Blackburn’s threatening moments rarely sustained, it was a comfortable home win.

Regular Swansea captain Matt Grimes had been left on the bench by Cooper and in the midfielder’s absence Ayew stepped up.

Blackburn boss Mowbray admitted: “It was a tight match, but credit to them for digging in and getting the result.

“They are second in the league now and they are a good side. In Ayew, you can see they have a class striker – one of the best in this division.”

“I’m disappointed, especially with the goals we gave away. They were unlike us. It must be two years since we gave away a goal from a direct header at a corner.

“It was a frustrating day because we had some opportunities, but one of those has to go in. We were up against a team with a very good spirit and you could feel that spirit. ”

Swansea took the lead from a set-piece in the 25th minute when Cabango outmuscled Darragh Lenihan to power home a header from Connor Roberts’ corner.

The second goal just came after Connor Roberts did well to release Yan Dhanda down the right and the former Liverpool man’s perfect cross was met with a firm downward header by Ayew for his sixth goal of the season.