The win for the Swans now sees a move into the top half of the table for the first time this season as the Northern Irishman’s side approach the October international break in strong form.
In an entertaining contest, Duff’s side had to show resilience to come back from behind from a strike from former Swan Luke Cundle who had given the Pilgrims the lead at the break.
Second-half goals from Jerry Yates and Ollie Cooper then turned the game on its head, before former Exeter man Josh Key added gloss to the scoreline late on. The Swans though would be thankful to the agility of goalkeeper Carl Rushworth to produce a stunning save with the scores level at 1-1 early in the second period.
Proving a catalyst to the win, the on-loan Brighton goalkeeper would deny full back Bali Mumba’s piledriver, spurring the Swans on to ruthlessly punish their south-coast rivals with two devastating moments of counter-attacking execution.
Full of praise for his side’s energy and desire Duff would single out the performance of wing-back Key as an epitome of the way he wants his side to play.
“The thing I thought that was important today was that we had that winning mentality, “said Duff.
“We stayed calm, we had a few moments in the first-half where we just couldn’t find that killer pass. The second-half then we came on really strong, kept the ball, moved it and scored some really good goals.
“I thought the difference today was in both boxes. It was an entertaining game, with two teams trying to play the right way. It was end-to-end, the number of blocks that we made was important as was the structure and the doggedness.
“He [Key] is the epidemy of everything we want. He has had it tough; it is a big jump from League One to the Championship.
“I did it a long time ago, but the jump is a lot bigger now, particularly mentally as well as all the technicality and physicality of it.
“He’s started the first five or six games out of position but his enthusiasm for the game and attitude comes through, he wants to learn.
“Where Josh got the energy to run the full length of the pitch from, probably because he’s an ex-Exeter player and celebrating in front of our fans was a brilliant moment for him and everyone. It meant we could not relax but enjoy the last five minutes more.
“He knows he has a good opportunity at a brilliant football club, and he wants to make it work. There’s no entitlement, he wants to keep improving and that is his best attribute and the bit we love about him.”
Duff would also have words of praise for his goalkeeper after his crucial save in the second period proved decisive.
“In our earlier run everything the opposition hit seemed to go in, but we weren’t getting opened up that much, we knew though we weren’t great with the ball,” continued Duff.
“There are moments you need [A top goalkeeper] and that is why we brought Carl [Rushworth] in. One thing Marge [Goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson] says is he makes big saves. We don’t want him to make 15 saves in a game, but in the key moments you need him.”
With the international break taking place over the next week, the Swans will have valuable time to rest and heal a long injury list ahead of a mouthwatering fixture against league leaders Leicester City on 21st October at the Swansea.com Stadium. A fixture in jovial fashion the former Barnsley head-coach is looking forward to.
“I’ve told them to enjoy it now, we’ll be in next week where we have a nice easy one next against Leicester, but we’ll plan for that later. I think they will be the team to beat this year.”
[Lead image: Swansea City FC]
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