New signing Jerry Yates wins praise from Swansea boss after draw with Birmingham
Michael Duff admits Jerry Yates’ ruthless nature in front of goal on his debut against Birmingham typified why Swansea were so keen to sign the striker in the summer.
Blues took the lead on the brink of half-time in the Sky Bet Championship opener between the sides in south Wales as Siriki Dembele fired beyond Brighton loanee Carl Rushworth after a defensive lapse from the hosts.
But Swansea improved in the second half and claimed a point as Yates fired Liam Cullen’s cross beyond John Ruddy in the 75th minute.
It was the former Blackpool forward’s first sight of goal in the match, and Duff was sufficiently impressed by the impact of the £2.5million summer capture.
“He struggled to get into the game a little bit,” said the new Swansea boss.
“But that’s what goalscorers do, if they don’t have a great game but they can walk off with a goal, that’s what he’s judged on.
“Birmingham started probably a bit better than us but I thought we finished the first half really well, so I’m really disappointed to give away a poor goal.
“I think we were pretty dominant in the second half and they were trying to shut up shop.
“We were ultimately a little bit unfortunate. We hit the crossbar, there was a goalmouth scramble that was somehow cleared off the line and we scored a really good goal.
“That’s the frustration. They’ve not had to do a lot to score and we’ve had to do a lot to score our goal. They are things we need to learn.”
John Eustace had no fewer than five debutants in his starting Birmingham line-up.
Dembele was undoubtedly the pick of the bunch as he got his account for Blues up and running with a fine strike late on in the first half.
And Eustace is confident that the former Bournemouth man has the qualities to light up the Championship this season.
“He’s obviously an entertainer,” said the Blues boss.
“He’s a player that’s going to get the fans on their feet and we’re very lucky to have him here. He took his goal very well.
“We’re all about hard work and for a player that exciting to come, he has to buy into that and I thought he did today, I thought he was excellent.”
On his side’s draw, Eustace said: “I thought we were very dominant and played very well. We gave them the goal. Apart from that, I don’t think they had many clear-cut chances. One that hit the bar from a scrap.
“I thought we were excellent today, with and without the ball. We came here to a very difficult place against a good team and gave a really good account of ourselves.
“We were up against a very good footballing team so we had to press them. We’ve worked on our shape throughout the six weeks and it was pleasing to see it come off.”
Swansea were dealt a real blow on the eve of the contest as Olivier Ntcham called Duff to request not to be involved in the fixture.
The Cameroon international has entered the final year of his contract with the Swans but is understood to be pushing for a move to Turkish side Samsunspor.
“Olivier was in the team yesterday (Friday) morning,” Duff said in his post-match press conference.
“He was in the team all week. I got a phone call last night saying he didn’t want to play. It’s disappointing but that’s football.”
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