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Nigel Pearson hails his Bristol City battlers after comeback victory at Swansea

Swansea City v Bristol City – Sky Bet Championship – Liberty Stadium
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Nigel Pearson hailed Bristol City’s fighting spirit after they came from behind to begin his managerial reign with a 3-1 victory over Swansea.

Kasey Palmer came back to haunt his old side after handling in the box to gift the dominant hosts a second-half penalty.

Andre Ayew found the bottom corner for his 10th of the season, but it all unravelled thereafter for Steve Cooper’s side.

Nahki Wells levelled 10 minutes later after Zak Vyner robbed Marc Guehi of possession and found the forward with a low cross.

Palmer then put the Robins ahead when his corner looped over the head of Freddie Woodman and found the top corner.

Woodman was at fault again for the third when he was closed down by Antoine Semenyo, who blocked his clearance and tapped the ball in, as  Swansea slipped to their first home league defeat since October.

“Swansea were by far the better side,” said Pearson. “They dominated possession and our quality on the ball was poor. We had to work so hard out of possession, and it was a relentless task just to stay in the game.

“But I have to give the players an unbelievable amount of credit. They stuck to their task and put their bodies on their line.

“Let’s not kid ourselves, we were second best. I couldn’t have had any complaints if we had come in 2-0 or 3-0 down. But that just shows what football is like.

“We felt it was important to change the shape to a 4-5-1 and it allowed us to press them higher up the pitch.

“I’ve inherited a talented group of young players, but with a team ethic that shines through.

“My mission is to bring positivity and make sure we’re in a positive place at the end of the season.”

Swansea allowed their promotion rivals to make up ground after their second defeat in three matches, and head coach Cooper was disappointed to see his side waste their dominant start.

He said: “Certainly, the first half, I thought the game should have been done and dusted, two or three goals at least. We didn’t take our chances but still managed to start the second half just as well.

“We had complete dominance of the game; it was a completely one-sided affair. We went 1-0 up and we didn’t manage going 1-0 up very well, something we’ve done really well this year so that was unlike us,

“Freddie’s made a couple of mistakes for the second and third goals, we know that, but he’s been brilliant for us since he’s come through the door.

“The first goal is the disappointing one because it was completely against the run of play and it was completely against the message at half-time of not falling for playing through the middle when Bristol City were clearly offering us to the sides.”