Match report: Ben Davies gets Swans up and running
ASSUMING deadline day goes to plan, Michael Laudrup can sit back, relax and reflect on a job well done.
The story might have been different had Swansea City gone down at West Bromwich Albion yesterday.
But after a 2-0 victory which was surprisingly simple, Swansea can spend the first international break of the season feeling pretty happy with their work.
Three points in three games is not the sort of form they will want further down the line.
But considering their opponents at the start of the new Premier League campaign, Swansea are pleased enough with their return.
On top of that, Laudrup's men are looking forward to the group stages of the Europa League.
All the Dane needs now is a new frontman to arrive before the transfer window closes tonight.
"There are so many things to be pleased about," Laudrup said after goals from Ben Davies and Pablo Hernandez saw off West Brom.
"The first thing is the win, the second is the performance and the third is the quality of the performance considering that we played a hard game on Thursday evening.
"We did not get home until 5am on Friday, so it's great that we could produce this display. It's encouraging because we have six more games in Europe over the next four months."
The chances are that the half-dozen league fixtures which follow Swansea's upcoming European ties will not prove as simple as this.
There were a few nerves for Laudrup and Co until their second goal arrived seven minutes from the end, but Swansea looked the likely winners almost throughout a one-sided game.
Swansea were not always at their slickest in the final third yesterday but, when they got their passing right, they looked capable of causing Albion problems.
Only three minutes were on the clock when Youssouf Mulumbu felled Michu on the edge of the home penalty area just as Swansea's attacking midfielder prepared to shoot.
Jonjo Shelvey fired the free-kick a yard over the bar, but the tone was set for a first half in which the visitors would create the better opportunities.
Michu was involved again three minutes later, exchanging passes with Davies before sending his shot into the crowd.
Wayne Routledge at least found the target as Swansea flooded forward again, but his 20-yard effort flew straight into the arms of Boaz Myhill.
Already the locals were feeling concerned — even though Nicolas Anelka was giving Swansea problems when Albion managed to get him into the game.
And it was the Baggies who had the game's first big chance on 17 minutes from a free-kick on the right flank.
The dead ball was delivered by Scott Sinclair, who was booed by large sections of the away end every time he was in possession.
The response seemed harsh given what he contributed during two years as a Swan — and that he left to try his luck with the then Premier League champions.
Whatever the rights or wrongs of the Sinclair jeers, Swansea's job on the field was to keep their former winger quiet.
They managed just that, although Sinclair's free-kick found James Morrison unmarked.
The Scottish international should really have scored, but his header was going wide and Shane Long could not react quickly enough to turn the ball past Michel Vorm.
Fortunate not to be behind, Swansea very quickly got themselves in front.
Davies spread the ball wide right to Hernandez, who stood Liam Ridgewell up before dancing round him.
When Hernandez's first cross came back to him off Claudio Yacob, his second picked out Davies and he finished in some style.
The rising star in Swansea's defence cushioned a left-foot volley beyond Myhill and into the top corner of the net.
Albion tried to find a response before the break, but Anelka whistled a shot just wide of the far post after Long's pass had teed him up.
And it was Swansea who threatened again just prior to the turnaround when Wilfried Bony, who was bright in his first start in the Premier League, made space for a long-range drive but fired too close to Myhill.
This was only a half-chance, but Swansea had a golden opportunity to double their advantage at the start of the second half.
Michu was involved again, sliding a pass through for Wayne Routledge.
Swansea's left-winger left Billy Jones behind, but one heavy touch allowed Myhill to come off his line and the chance was gone.
Routledge got the opportunity to redeem himself 20 minutes later when he raced in behind the Albion rearguard for a second time, Hernandez's well-weighted pass opening the home side up this time.
But once more Routledge looked a little short on confidence and, as he dallied, Gareth McAuley's sliding recovery tackle saved the Baggies.
At the other end, meantime, Albion were struggling to create chances, never mind miss them.
There was another set-piece scare for Swansea, when McAuley got above Chico Flores but could only head over from eight yards out.
Albion were there for the taking — and Swansea eventually got the second goal which sealed the points.
It might have come eight minutes from the end, when Shelvey fed Michu on the counter-attack and he pushed the ball wide to Hernandez.
The former Valencia man ran from halfway to the Albion area, but was denied a memorable goal when his shot hit the bar.
No matter, a minute later the points were sealed.
This time Hernandez sent Michu down the inside left channel.
When his first cross was blocked by the sliding Jonas Olsson, Michu pounced on the loose ball and rolled it to Hernandez on the penalty spot.
This time Hernandez got his angles right, guiding the ball beyond Myhill to ensure Swansea's domestic season would get up and running.
"We knew it was going to be a difficult start for us as soon as the fixtures came out," Laudrup added.
"We lost to Manchester United and Spurs, and our next two home games after the international break are against Liverpool and Arsenal.
"That's why we needed these points so much."