Norwich manager Daniel Farke was relieved to see a gamble pay off as his side beat Swansea 1-0 at Carrow Road to move up to third in the Championship heading into the international break.
Farke introduced youngsters Bali Mumba and Josh Martin into the fray with the game goalless going into the final quarter and both impressed, with the former providing the cross which led to Marco Stiepermann’s 84th-minute winner.
The former Sunderland youngster did well to pick out Emi Buendia, who laid the ball back for the big German to slide home his first goal since Norwich’s title-winning campaign of 2018-19.
Farke said: “They say fortune favours the brave and I am very glad the gamble came off and we got the win.
“There was no way we were going to settle for a draw, we wanted to win the game and I thought it would improve our chances if we brought Josh and Bali on.
“It was a risk bringing Bali on at left-back, which is not his usual position, because Swansea had switched from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 in the second half and had Andre Ayew playing on the right.
“But I thought it was a risk worth taking because of Bali’s pace and attacking qualities and he did really well for our goal.
“It is great when a substitution comes off like that but the praise goes to my players who put our ideas into action on the pitch and helped up come away with all three points.”
Farke made no attempt to play down the significance of the victory.
He added: “It was a massive win for us. It was a top-quality game between the sides third and fourth in the table at the start of the day and Swansea gave us a really good test, as you would expect from a side I think will be challenging for the top six this season.
“That is the case with all the teams we are facing because they are all really keen to beat a side who have just come down from the Premier League and were praised for their style of play.
“It was a game where both sides had their chances and we were grateful to Tim Krul for some very good saves but we also had a lot of chances and I feel we deserved the win in the end.
“It was great to see the lads go back to the dressing room with another late goal, another win and another clean sheet.
“Big compliments to them for taking 17 points from a possible 21. It’s now seven games unbeaten and we can go into the international break in good spirits.
“I am especially pleased for Marco Stiepermann. He had a difficult season in the Premier League but he has fought his way back into the team in recent weeks and has showed how important a player he is for us.”
Swansea head coach Steve Cooper was feeling hard done by afterwards after seeing Ayew hit the woodwork with a header in the first half and Jamal Lowe missing two gilt-edged chances in the second.
He said: “It feels very hard to take but at the end of the day we have missed some very good chances and that is why we have come away with nothing.
“It should at least have been a draw, probably all three points. Their keeper has made more saves in this game than he probably has all season.
“We want to come to places like this and try and win by creating lots of chances and we have done that – but we just haven’t taken them and have been punished at the end.
“We have defended well and I don’t remember Freddie Woodman making too many saves but they have put the ball in the back of the net once and won the game.
“It’s very disappointing and it is something we need to get over and then move one.
“That killer touch was missing, just as it was against Brentford in our previous game, and that is something we need to look at in the international break.”