Saturday 18 January 2020

Steve Cook praises Bournemouth's defence after Swansea shut-out

Steve Cook was impressed with Bournemouth's defence
Steve Cook was impressed with Bournemouth's defence

Steve Cook praised Bournemouth's back four as the Cherries finally kept their first clean sheet of 2017 in Saturday's vital 2-0 win over fellow relegation candidates Swansea.

Eddie Howe's had slipped alarmingly down the table having not managed to keep a clean sheet since a New Year's Eve victory against the Swans.

In that time they shipped 26 goals and took just six Premier League points as they were dragged into the battle for survival.

Last weekend's 3-2 win over West Ham was fraught with tension but against Paul Clement's Swansea the defence stood firm and was largely unchallenged, and Cook knows that is not a coincidence.

"A clean sheet has been a long time coming," he said.

"It's been since Swansea away on New Year's Eve, which is far too long and we've conceded a lot of goals.

"As a back four we've been working really hard in the last couple of weeks and ever since Manchester United we've looked very solid.

"I'm delighted, it's like scoring goals when you're a defender so a clean sheet is huge for us."

While keeping Swansea out at one end, the Cherries had Benik Afobe to thank for sealing a huge three points which takes them as high as 12th.

The former Wolves striker saw his tame first-half strike deflected in off the unwitting Alfie Mawson, with the Swans man credited with an own goal.

But after the interval Afobe, who has struggled for form since joining the club last January, finished off the visitors with a well-taken effort.

"All week we've been talking about getting our first back-to-back Premier League wins. We've done that today and kept a clean sheet and luckily enough I've scored the goal," Afobe told Bournemouth's official website.

"It's been a good weekend for us and now we'll all be looking forward to the international break and being ready for the Southampton game."

The Bournemouth squad will travel to Dubai for warm-weather training over the international break, no doubt with a fresh spring in their step.

But for Swansea, the two-week gap until their next fixture will drag after back to back defeats against opponents also fighting for the top-flight status.

A loss at Hull was followed by this reverse at the Vitality Stadium and captain Jack Cork admitted the players had not done themselves justice on the south coast.

"It was very disappointing," he said.

"We didn't play as well as we could and we are well aware of that," said the Swans skipper.

"The first goal was unlucky because it takes a massive deflection, but after that we didn't react well enough. In the second half we didn't get going.

"This is another setback for us, but now we have two big home games to come after the international break. We must react positively in those matches."

PA Media

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