Francesco Guidolin off to winning start as Swansea down Everton to surge clear of relegation zone
Francesco Guidolin’s first game in charge of Swansea saw them win 2-1 away to Everton on Sunday as the Welsh club moved four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.
A hard-fought victory saw Swansea climb to 15th place, just three positions behind Everton, who’ve now won just once in their last 10 league games and only three times in their past 14 at Goodison Park.
Swansea went ahead though Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 17th-minute penalty but Everton were level nine minutes later when Gareth Barry’s near-post flick was turned into his own net by the Swans’ Jack Cork.
But Swansea regained the lead in the 34th minute.
Left-back Neil Taylor burst clear and released Andre Ayew, whose shot deflected in off the sliding John Stones.
It appeared Swansea defender Ashley Williams may have handled the ball in the build-up but referee Anthony Taylor was happy that the contact was not deliberate and waved play on.
Ayew was delighted for Guidolin, telling Sky Sports: “I’m happy for him, I’m happy especially for the supporters and the club, they have been behind us in this difficult moment. We need to continue like that. We have a victory here but we haven’t done anything yet.
“There are a lot of games left. We have to work harder and I know we can even do better.”
Swansea skipper Williams added: “Winning at a place like Goodison Park is massive for the club. We’ve not done it before. We know what it means to everyone involved, and we’ve got to keep picking up points every week.”
For highly regarded England central defender Stones, this was a match to forget as it was his under-hit backpass that led to Swansea’s penalty, with goalkeeper Tim Howard hacking down Ayew as he tried to clear.
There were several occasions when Stones was guilty of overplaying the ball, whereas Swansea centre-back Williams adopted a more traditional approach by concentrating on getting the ball clear.
This was a notable win for Swansea as it meant they had recorded back-to-back league successes for the first time this season following last week’s 1-0 defeat of Watford.
As well as giving Italian boss Guidolin a victory in his first game in charge, this result was also Swansea’s first league victory over Everton, whose manager Roberto Martinez made his name in charge of the Welsh side.