Stephens: “It was a grind"

By SFC Media Tue 08 May Swansea v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Jack Stephens

Jack Stephens has hailed the mental strength of his Saints team-mates as they secured a critical three points at Swansea on Tuesday night.

Manolo Gabbiadini’s scrambled finished midway through the second half from the substitute’s bench all but secured safety to reward a “grinding” performance from Mark Hughes’s men.

“It was a real grind tonight, you could see just how desperate both sides were for the points,” the returning Stephens said from Liberty Stadium.

“Moments of quality were few and far between which is to be expected in a game of this importance; it was all about digging in and waiting for the opportunity.

"They were sharper than us in the first half, maybe because of nerves, I don’t know. We stuck at it, we got the goal and we are now nearly there.”

The scenes of celebration at the full-time whistle in south Wales were doubly worthy when considering the heartbreak suffered at Goodison Park just four days ago and the defender believes that this result is testament to the resolve Saints have needed show in these decisive weeks.

“It was a very low dressing room on Saturday evening," he said. "We didn’t deserve that result at Everton, there are plenty of ifs and buts that every club can talk about over the course of a season but there was a lot of disappointment there.

“So, to turn those emotions around in such a short space of time and come here and get a positive result is a credit to everyone at the club. Even though we are not entirely there yet, we’ve taken a massive step towards being safe.”

Naturally, Stephens's final words were reserved for match-winner Gabbiadini who was mobbed by his teammates in the away dressing room.

“We are absolutely delighted for Gabbi," he said. "He’s had a difficult season like many of us, plenty of ups and downs but to come on tonight – like he did at Burnley – and to score such an important goal is fantastic.”

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