It is now one win in eight games for Roberto Martínez and his
Unfortunately, the absence of a cutting edge in front of goal cost them dear. By the time Boyce had given his side a lifeline with an overhead kick, 21 minutes from time, goals from Pablo Hernández and Michu had set the surprise package of last season on their way to a first league win since Aug 25.
It was a disappointing afternoon for Martínez, who spent seven happy years at the Liberty Stadium as a player and manager. Boyce, too, was quick to lament another missed opportunity and to further highlight the club’s genuine fear of another season at the wrong end of the table.
“We had to go two-nil down before we started playing,” said Boyce. “Already this season there’s been too many times when we’ve done that.
“It’s the same as last season when we only started playing when we had to. We have to change that because we can’t be in a position like we were at the end of last season and all the other seasons.”
For Swansea, there was a mixture of relief and joy. Laudrup, who had done his best to play down talk of a rift within the squad, understood the enormity of a game that served as a pre-cursor to what promises to be the club’s most exacting seven days of the season to date.
On Saturday, they travel to
“A difficult run, but at least we go into those games with a win behind us,” Laudrup said.
More importantly, Swansea showed no hangover from a week dominated by questions about the alleged disharmony within the squad.
Having shown unity before the game when all 18 players chose not to wear the Kick It Out T-shirts during the warm-up in protest at what they see as a lack of support for the campaign to stamp out racism in football, they were a genuine collective from start to finish of a game that was quite a must-win affair.
Michu, twice, and Angel Rangel had opportunities to break the deadlock in the first half before Leon Britton shaved an upright, 90 seconds after the interval. It was the sign of things to come.
In the end, a smart turn and shot from Hernández, after 65 minutes, set up a thrilling final 25 minutes during which Michu added a second, from a Jonathan De Guzman corner, and Boyce gave Wigan a lifeline.
Laudrup was delighted for Hernández, who has endured a difficult start to life in south Wales. “When you come to a new club, with a new culture, you want to create a good impression,” he said. “Sometimes when you do that you try to do too many things at the same time. Maybe you try too hard.”