Rodgers: Draw was right result

Speed died at his home on the outskirts of Chester on Sunday, with

sources confirming he was found hanged, and tributes have poured in

for the former Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield

United midfielder. Cheshire Police said on Monday the inquest into

his death will be opened at Warrington Coroner’s Court on Tuesday

at 3pm. Given the overwhelming sense of sadness at Speed’s death it

was perhaps no surprise that Sunday’s Liberty Stadium contest was a

subdued affair. Rodgers, whose side could have snatched a late

winner through substitute Leroy Lita, admitted there would have

been little enthusiasm for any celebrations had there been a winner

in south Wales, and was happy enough to pick up a hard-earned

point. “It was maybe fitting it was a point each,” he said. “We

maybe weren’t at the top of our game, which was understandable, but

I thought we had enough good moments in the game to have got

something. But it would have been difficult to celebrate after such

shocking news. “Every point in this league is vital, we weren’t at

our most fluid but we still created enough chances and to have six

clean sheets in 13 games is no mean feat at this level. “We had to

make changes with injuries which stopped us changing the game as

time went on but I am very proud of what our players achieved

against one of the top established teams in British football.”

Rodgers paid particular tribute to his Wales contingent of Neil

Taylor, Joe Allen and Ashley Williams, who all played just hours

after the death of their national team boss was confirmed. He said:

“I spoke to the lads before the game and I pulled them in again

afterwards. It was hard for them, of course, to lose someone like

that. “They’ve had a fantastic spell with Gary. He’s done an

incredible job. He and I spoke quite a lot. The style he was

looking to bring in was a big part with our players playing in it.

“I thought the players’ performance level considering that was

unbelievable. “Ashley Williams was incredible, immense. It was

difficult with little Joe because he’s a real thinker, he did great

but I could see before the game it affected him. “All three are

strong characters. How the three of them performed like they did

was incredible. It was a sombre day and it was hard to take in.”

Taylor said he and his team-mates had played as a mark of respect

for Wales’ most-capped outfield player. “I don’t think it’s sunk in

but having the game takes your mind off it but it also allows you

to pay your respects by playing the game he loved so much. “He was

a great football man, we spoke about all the games he played and he

was going to become a great manager with Wales. We just wanted to

play to pay our respects.” Taylor was one of four Swansea players

to pick up injuries yesterday, and Rodgers faces an anxious wait to

see if the full-back Danny Graham, Nathan Dyer and Angel Rangel are

available to face Blackburn on Saturday. Villa had Wales defender

James Collins in their side while goalkeeper Shay Given, who played

with Speed at Newcastle, was in tears as the match got under way.

And manager Alex McLeish admitted he had been concerned over their

ability to play so soon after hearing of Speed’s death. McLeish

said: “I was worried about that. There was that minute’s silence

that turned into applause and I was worried about losing Given.

“James Collins was white as a sheet and Jermaine Jenas played as

his midfield partner at Newcastle so these guys were extremely

distraught.” Villa had chances of their own to claim the three

points but remain without an away win so far this term. Swansea

goalkeeper Michel Vorm twice denied man-of-the-match Gabriel

Agbonlahor before Chris Herd headed wide from close range in the

closing stages. And while McLeish was pleased to see his side

respond after their 2-0 defeat to Tottenham, he felt with a bit

more belief the result could have gone their way. “With a wee bit

more conviction we could have won. Chris had a great chance with

his header, he is normally deadly there but he put it wide of the

post.”