Sport Soccer

Tuesday 28 February 2017

Federico Fernandez hopes Swansea can now relax in battle against the drop

Dad-to-be Federico Fernandez celebrates his Swansea winner against Aston Villa.
Dad-to-be Federico Fernandez celebrates his Swansea winner against Aston Villa.

Federico Fernandez feels Swansea can finally relax in their battle against the drop after a tense 1-0 victory over Aston Villa.

Fernandez's first goal for the club might have been a case of child's play as the father-to-be celebrated in pregnant pose with the ball up his shirt.

But Swansea's season has been fraught with danger as they have flirted with the Barclays Premier League relegation places during a campaign where they have had three managers.

"This game was massive for us," Fernandez said after his fortunate Liberty Stadium winner took Swansea within four points of the magic 40-point mark.

"This is a very good step, now we rest and focus on another seven finals.

"We are not safe yet, we need maybe a point or three more points.

"But this was a very important moment for us, and now we are able to relax a little and stay calm in the last weeks."

Fernandez had not scored in his previous 57 Swansea appearances since joining from Napoli in August 2014.

But the Argentina defender got lucky when Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan missed Gylfi Sigurdsson's 53rd-minute free-kick and the ball rolled into a gaping net off his right shoulder.

"I was going to stop but the ball hit me on the shoulder," said Fernandez.

"It was what we needed, it is a goal and you take the chance to score.

"Me and my girlfriend Florence are waiting for our first child in September, so it is a very emotional time.

"I told her I would celebrate like that if I scored. So it was perfect.

"Defending is my job and keeping a clean sheet is what is important.

"But to get a goal like that was a special moment, because what is important is that the club stay another season in the Premier League."

While Swansea seemed to have saved themselves by taking 17 points from the last 10 games, Villa's own position appears hopeless with seven matches left to play.

They are now 12 points from safety amid speculation that manager Remi Garde, who was appointed at the start of November to succeed the sacked Tim Sherwood, could leave the club in the next couple of days.

Garde has presided over only two league wins and w as certainly downbeat after a sixth successive defeat, even if he was refusing to accept the looming prospect of relegation.

"Until mathematically it is not possible, why should we give up?" said Garde.

"We have shown the opposite of teams that give up.

"I am fully focused on the next game against Chelsea."

Asked about Guzan's crucial error, Garde replied: "I prefer not to criticise the players.

"Brad has time to digest that and come back stronger."

Press Association

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