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Thursday 13 December 2018

Martin Olsson confident of survival with Swansea

Defender Martin Olsson (bottom) is confident Swansea are on the right track
Defender Martin Olsson (bottom) is confident Swansea are on the right track

Martin Olsson is confident Swansea are on the right track to get themselves out of Premier League relegation trouble.

The Swans emerged from their crucial fixture at Newcastle on Saturday disappointed to be doing so with a 1-1 draw from a game they could have lost by half-time, but might have won at the death.

They remain rooted to the foot of the table and four points adrift of safety, but Sweden international Olsson has seen enough in the four games they have played under new manager Carlos Carvalhal to believe they can rescue themselves.

The 29-year-old said: "We haven't created loads of chances in the past, but the spirit has always been there and now we are showing that bit of attacking threat as well, which is what we need.

"We can only look forward to the next game."

That next league game - Swansea face Wolves in an FA Cup third-round replay at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday evening - comes a week on Monday when Liverpool head for south Wales, although having won one and drawn two of Carvalhal's first four at the helm, Olsson believes a corner has been turned.

He said: "Exactly - and that loss came against Spurs, which was an even game as well, so we're on the right track and hopefully we will pick up more points."

Swansea weathered something of an early storm on Tyneside as the Magpies created and spurned a series of first-half chances as they looked to ease their own relegation fears.

However, they were certain they were denied a cast-iron penalty nine minutes before the break when Mike van der Hoorn's flick appeared to hit Mohamed Diame's arm, although not in the opinion of referee Graham Scott.

Olsson said: "It's not the first time a decision has gone against us from the ref. Hopefully next time, they see that better."

Jordan Ayew headed the visitors into a 61st-minute lead as they finally found their feet after the break, and although Joselu levelled just seven minutes later, fellow substitute Wilfried Bony might have won it at the death but for DeAndre Yedlin's goal-line clearance.

Olsson said: "We came here for three points, but we'll have to take a point. It's better than a loss. One point away at Newcastle, it's okay."

If there was frustration in the away dressing room, there was too among the home contingent with Newcastle acutely aware of an opportunity missed.

Asked if his team's shortcomings might persuade owner Mike Ashley to loosen the purse strings, manager Rafael Benitez said: "I think he already knows. We have been really clear and I think they understand the situation. Now, it is just a case of doing what we have to do."

It was perhaps fitting that the Magpies' equaliser came from Joselu, the striker whose £5million summer capture was symbolic of the club's lack of spending power at the time.

Benitez said: "I think in this new world of football now where everything is so expensive, we knew he could score goals, that he could make a contribution, and he's doing that."

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