High-flying Swans excited by challenges to come
Swansea 3 Bolton Wanderers 1
The sky's the limit for Swansea, the depths the reality for Bolton. There are only six points between these two clubs, but the difference in momentum is vast. The managers' mood exemplified the chasm.
For Brendan Rodgers, Swansea's 11 points from their first five home Premier League games inspires him to utter positives which sounded remarkably like "bring on Manchester United".
Sir Alex Ferguson's champions will arrive at the league's newest fortress in a fortnight, and Rodgers seems about as nervous about that as he does about Saturday's trip to Anfield.
"These aren't lower-league players now; they are Premier League players who can perform and dominate games," he said, after Swansea moved into the top 10. "We know the task. But we go to Anfield with massive confidence."
And United? "People now understand the Liberty Stadium is a difficult place to come," added Rodgers peering back over the unbeaten record this season. "We were huge favourites to go down, so had a cause to fight for straight away. There's no way I'm here to make up the numbers. The fight in our team proves that. The magic-carpet ride continues."
Meanwhile, for the Bolton manager Owen Coyle the only thing magic about his carpet is that it continually threatens to be whipped from under him. To be honest, he was daft to mention the word "agenda" when questioning Mark Clattenburg's refereeing, particularly when the same official had sent off David Wheater at the Emirates. But Coyle probably couched his fury in careful enough terms to escape a charge and, anyway, his frustration was understandable.
"Five mad minutes and all our good work was undone," said Coyle referring to the dismissal of Ricardo Gardner just after half-time which immediatedly led to Swansea's opener. "But if you want to feel sorry for yourself, you're in the wrong game because football is ruthless and it will run over the top of you."
Coyle added: "We've had horrendous injuries and have had a tough fixture list. But we're in a group of games we feel we can win points from. Swansea are a good side, but I would say there are 10 teams in this league where there isn't a coat of paint between them.
"The only way you get out of these relegation battles is to win games and move up the league. Swansea have done that."
And so the gloom builds in one camp while the hype rages in the other. Rodgers was even asked about the possibility of an England cap for Nathan Dyer, the winger who Bolton could only deal with agriculturally, and who along with the cultured Joe Allen was the game's most notable performer.
"I'll say nothing," laughed Rodgers. "Or I'll get a note on the door – 'you've caused a big storm'. But look at the reality. Matt Jarvis was called up and if international managers are looking for wingers who can play football they will come here and see there are players who have stepped up to this level and are playing very well. But there's a way to go yet."
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