Russell Martin blasted a senior Swansea City player for swiftly handing Millwall the ball prior to the Lions’ dramatic equaliser in the Championship contest between the sides.
The Swans looked on course for all three points at the Swansea.com Stadium courtesy of early goals from Ryan Manning and Michael Obafemi. But they conceded two own goals in injury-time, with Harry Darling and Nathan Wood both converting crosses into their own net as Gary Rowett’s men snatched a point in dramatic fashion.
And Martin has revealed a senior player on Swansea’s bench gave Millwall the opportunity to hit the hosts for a second time beyond the 90 minutes of regular time by quickly punching the ball back to an away player.
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“For 93 or 94 minutes, we were by far and away the best team,” said the head coach. “Dominant, aggressive, everything we got criticised for against Blackburn, and rightly so in a lot of senses, I think the boys put right tonight.
“We should score more goals. Millwall only had one shot on target before two of our defenders score an own goals.
“We should make more of our own chances in the final third. I have to take responsibility for it, I’m in charge of the mentality of the team. Even though we have so many young men on the pitch, we have to do better than we did.
“The ball goes out for a throw-in, and one of our players not involved punches the ball back on the pitch. I’m absolutely furious about it. I’ve told him. That just can’t happen. He punched the ball back to them to take a throw-in quickly and we concede a goal.
“Whether you’re on the bench or whether you’re not involved, you need to add value to your team somehow. That’s certainly not adding value.”
And when asked if it was a younger member of the squad, Martin responded: “No it wasn’t a young lad. He knows.
“We need to keep control of the game. Let’s start with not giving the ball back to the opposition when it goes out for a throw, because they are the moments in this league where if that’s against us, I am pretty sure it’s getting hit into the stands, it takes a minute to get it back and the game’s done, everyone goes away feeling really good.
“How do we find the answer? We will sit and talk honestly about the problems like we always do.
“If the penny drops and they really want to impact the league, they have a chance to. We are really close to being very, very good and some moments tonight were very, very good. But we need to eradicate those moments to really have an impact.”
It served to be yet another frustrating night for the Jack Army who appeared destined to be heading home safe in the knowledge that their side had earned all three points following a hugely encouraging display before the injury-time capitulation.
And in a blow that typified a disappointing night, Joel Latibeaudiere sustained a shoulder injury that looks set to keep him out of action for a lengthy spell – with Martin now due to hold transfer talks with chief executive Julian Winter and head of football operations Josh Marsh with a view to bringing in a replacement for the ex-Man City defender.
“He gives us so much. The reason he’s played for us and in so many positions, he’s one of the first names on the team sheet for the way he trains, his willingness to run, be aggressive and defend,” explained Martin.
“It’s purely because of his mentality and desire to be the best version of himself. He’s so appreciated by us as coaching staff and the rest of the players. What he gives us is so important so we’ll miss him for sure.
“It’s going to be a long-term one. We’ll have to sit with Josh and Julian tomorrow and see if we’re able to do something. We’ll have to see what the diagnosis is with Lats and how long he’s actually going to be out for. It’s another blow to tonight.”
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