Rodgers excuses rare off-day for underdogs

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers claims their 2-0 defeat against Everton shows they are still “operating in the art of the underdog”.

Defeat to the Toffees on Saturday ended a run of three superb victories over Wigan, Manchester City and Fulham that had catapulted the Swans up to eighth in the Premier League table, and saw them being mentioned as candidates for European qualification.

And the impact that Swansea have made in the top flight this season has been such that a third home defeat of the season against an established Premier League club is viewed in some quarters as a surprise.

Rodgers admitted his side had not been at their best against a disciplined Everton, and conceded the loss serves as a reminder of the hard work his squad have had to put in to be a force at this level.

He said: “Because of the level these players have played at they are permitted to have a bad game every now and then. There were not many players who were poor, but we misplaced some passes we would normally make.

“But we are working and operating in what is the art of the underdog. As the underdog we are always trying to find ways to beat Goliath.

“For us sometimes that is about being different and unpredictable, on this occasion being different wasn’t working.

“So we then changed it, made three substitutions and changed the system. It gave us a wee bit more possession but not quite that cutting edge.’’

The win for Everton, secured by Leighton Baines’ exquisite free-kick and Nikica Jelavic’s tap-in, moves the Toffees up to 40 points.

But manager David Moyes says reaching the widely-accepted Premier League safety mark will not see his side relax, although he accepts the gap to some of the sides above may make it difficult to make too much headway from their current ninth place.

The Scot said: “Once you get to 40 points you can look to see what you can do, maybe some of the clubs above us are too far away but we will see what we can do and if we can catch them.

“I don’t know if it relaxes you to get to 40 points, and it will probably be a lot less than 40 [to stay up] this year, but it does mean you can feel a bit better about yourself.”

Everton now face Sunderland in their FA Cup quarter-final replay tomorrow night.

And Moyes admits the three points was a welcome boost ahead of the trip to Wearside.

“It was obviously good to win but it does not guarantee us a win on Tuesday, although it is always better to come from this position.”


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