Williams lifts Swans out of drop zone

New head coach Francesco Guidolin (centre) watching Swansea beat Watford on Monday. The 60-year-old will work alongside interim manager Alan Curtis, though the Italian will have the final say on team selection.
New head coach Francesco Guidolin (centre) watching Swansea beat Watford on Monday. The 60-year-old will work alongside interim manager Alan Curtis, though the Italian will have the final say on team selection.PHOTO: AGENCEFRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Swansea captain Ashley Williams needed to turn to Google to find out more about new head coach Francesco Guidolin. But the defender came up with the answers against Watford on Monday, heading in the winner for a crucial 1-0 Premier League victory.

The result at the Liberty Stadium saw the hosts climb out of the relegation zone, leapfrogging Newcastle into 17th position on 22 points from as many games - one more than the Magpies.

Guidolin, appointed until the end of the season to work with caretaker manager Alan Curtis, watched from the terraces.

"We heard the news last night and obviously everyone got on to Google and did their research and tried to find out as much as they can about him," Williams told Sky Sports. "It looks like he has got a good record and he would have been watching tonight. It has given everyone a bit of a lift and we tried to go out there and show everyone what we could do."

Reeling after winning just one of their last 11 games, Swansea produced a gritty performance and were rewarded in the 27th minute, when Williams rose above his markers to head home a Ki Sung Yueng cross from the right. It was the Welshman's first goal in 22 months.

Guidolin will work alongside but have the final say over Curtis. The 60-year-old has been accompanied by Gabriele Ambrosetti, the former midfielder who played for Chelsea for four years from 1999, who will act as coach and translator.

The Italian is a left-field appointment without experience of a relegation battle, suggesting panic from Swansea.

He was introduced to staff at the Liberty Stadium on Monday and will take charge of his first Premier League game away to Everton on Sunday, with the possibility of staying on next season depending on results.

He has been working as a technical director to the Pozzo family, who own Watford, Granada and Udinese, the last of which Guidolin coached for four seasons until 2014.

"When I was at Udinese, I showed the players a video of the style of Swansea, now it's different," he said. More recent videos will show him a team short on confidence, belief and goals. But he will have the chance to put things right.

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2016, with the headline 'Williams lifts Swans out of drop zone'. Print Edition | Subscribe