MICHAEL Laudrup absolved Craig Gardner of any blame for the horrible injury which is likely to have ended Neil Taylor’s 2012/13 season on the first day of September.
Swansea fans were incensed with Gardner – much to the right-back’s puzzlement – when the Swans’ defender fouled the Sunderland man but injured himself badly in the process on Saturday.
And Laudrup, who confirmed the extent of the injury, was quick to exonerate the Black Cat after the game.
“Neil has a broken ankle – at least one bone – so we are talking about a long time before he returns to the game,” said the Swansea boss.
“A lot of times when you have serious injuries like that the incident is not very violent and I don’t think this one was either – it resulted in a free-kick to Sunderland.
“It didn’t seem like a bad collision.
“There was nothing particularly violent about it, he was just unlucky to fall in a bad way and you can’t blame his opponent for that.”
Swansea overcame that setback, the sending off of Chico Flores and going behind twice – the second time with virtually the last kick of the first half – to claim a point and very nearly pinch a victory with 10 men.
“Of the four matches we’ve played, this one gave me most satisfaction,” said the Danish footballing legend.
“I saw so many things that were good and the players showed great character.
“The first time we made a mistake Sunderland got a goal, we come back really well but they score with the last kick of the half.
“That means we go into the dressing room in a bad way.
“We come back out in the right frame of mind, we’re patient, and we get an equaliser.
“But as soon as we start thinking of the winner we get a player sent off almost immediately.
“There were still 20 minutes to play and you wonder what might happen next, but they just kept the ball as if it was still 11 versus 11 and we had only one scare in 20 minutes.
“I thought that was great.
“It’s really important for a manager to know his team has character.
“It can be easy to win when you’re playing well, but it’s harder to play well when everything seems to be against you – so, for me, this point is much more than a point.”