Away joy at last for Rodgers and his Swans

BRENDAN RODGERS was delighted to see Swansea earn their first away win in the Barclays Premier League with a performance at Aston Villa he felt truly showcased the team’s virtues.

The Welsh side went ahead in the fourth minute when Stephen Warnock got in a mix-up and gave the ball straight to Nathan Dyer, who took it on before firing past Brad Guzan.

Former Villa man Wayne Routledge then doubled the advantage two minutes into the second-half, pouncing when Danny Graham hit the post to seal a 2-0 triumph and the Swans’ maiden victory on the road since their promotion to the top flight last summer.

They were more than worthy winners on the day and manager Rodgers said:

“It was a wonderful performance and result for us to come to a place like Aston Villa, where Swansea have never won.

“I thought my players were brilliant today. We scored two goals and could have had a few more. Everything that is good in our game was evident – the intelligence of our pressure and some of our passing and interchange was exceptional.

“It was thoroughly deserved and I am delighted for the players and supporters. To get an away win is important. We spoke last night about making a new commitment to our resolve away from home, showing that little bit more steel so we get our rewards, and we did that, which was very pleasing.”

After Warnock’s blunder, there was another error on Villa’s part in the build-up to the second goal, goalkeeper Brad Guzan sending his goal-kick to a white shirt and the ball coming to Routledge, who burst forward, laid on a pass for Graham and then reacted swiftly to tuck away the rebound when the striker’s shot came back off the upright.

The mistakes summed up a disappointing display from the midlanders, who were beaten at home for the fourth successive time and came crashing back down to earth after their shock 3-1 win at Chelsea on New Year’s Eve. Villa boss Alex McLeish said: “It was unbelievable – frightening that after such a good performance at the weekend and with confidence and morale so high, we go and shoot ourselves in the foot. I thought in fact that we started quite bright, but then we started to make passes to the side and back and it was a (failed) pass back which cost us. It is so disappointing to see us take the positive steps forward, and then the step back today.”

McLeish rejected the suggestion he had made a mistake himself in only making one change from the Chelsea game 48 hours earlier – Rodgers refreshed Swansea’s side extensively for the second game in a row by making seven adjustments from their 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Saturday – although the Scot did view tiredness as a factor in his team’s display.

McLeish refused to be drawn on transfer speculation amid reports he is interested in a move for Spurs midfielder Niko Kranjcar and Los Angeles Galaxy striker Robbie Keane.

Swansea, meanwhile, announced their second deal of the January transfer window, with Iceland midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson – who played under Rodgers at Reading – joining on loan from Hoffenheim for the rest of the season.

ASTON VILLA (5-3-2): B Guzan 5; J Collins 5, C Cuéllar 4, S Warnock 4, R Dunne 6, C Clark 5; S Petrov 6, S Ireland 6, C N’Zogbia 6; G Agbonlahor 6, D Bent 5.

Subs: A Hutton 6 for C Cuéllar (55), M Albrighton 6 for Ireland (69), B Bannan for Clark (85).

SWANSEA CITY (4-2-3-1): M Vorm 6; A Williams 6, S Caulker 6, N Taylor 6, A Rangel 6; L Britton 6, K Agustien 7; W Routledge 7, N Dyer 8; A Orlandi 7; D Graham 8.

Subs: J Allen 6 for Orlandi (58), S Sinclair N Dyer (78).

Referee: Anthony Taylor.

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