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Swansea City bounced back from the departure of manager Michael Laudrup to claim derby revenge with a 3-0 win over Cardiff City.
Laudrup left the club on Tuesday after a run of six defeats in eight Barclays Premier League matches and Garry Monk was installed as head coach. Monk saw second-half goals from Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Wilfried Bony to help the former Swansea captain's chances of becoming Laudrup's long-term successor no harm.
Cardiff were 1-0 victors on their own patch in November in the Barclays Premier League, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left to rue a pair of first-half misses from Kenwyne Jones, while Craig Bellamy rattled the crossbar at 1-0.
Monk handed Marvin Emnes a second Swansea debut up front following the Middlesbrough forward's loan signing on deadline day. Cardiff's headline-making January acquisition Wilfried Zaha earned a full debut on the back of an impressive cameo in last weekend's win over Norwich City.
Emnes, operating behind central striker Bony, dinked the ball over Ben Turner and drove at the Cardiff defence in the opening minute, playing in Routledge, whose shot was saved by David Marshall. The Cardiff goalkeeper then judged a challenge to perfection on Bony as the home faithful howled in vain for a penalty.
Bellamy scored the only goal the last time these sides met at the Liberty Stadium and the Cardiff forward started to make his presence felt. Jones stole half a yard on Chico Flores to head his strike partner's right-wing cross wide and, in the 24th minute, the same player stabbed off target after Bellamy slickly exchanged passes with Peter Whittingham.
Having been on the back foot, Swansea ended the half strongly. Dyer flashed a ball across the goalmouth and Jonathan de Guzman glanced wide.
Monk sent on Pablo Hernandez at the break as a thigh problem curtailed Emnes' evening. As first managerial substitutions go, it proved inspired. In the second minute after the restart, Hernandez measured a through-ball to catch Fabio da Silva out of position and Routledge produced a clipped finish to open his Barclays Premier League account for the season.
Cardiff almost had a 51st-minute response through Bellamy's energy. The former Wales striker cut inside past Flores to thump a 20-yard strike against the crossbar.
Dyer shot wide from a similar distance as the Cardiff defence backed off dangerously five minutes later, while Turner stood firm to divert Bony's volley on the turn wide as the game entered its final quarter.
Kim Bo-Kyung hooked over when Swansea failed to clear a set-piece, but Dyer made sure of the points when he stooped to convert Routledge's 79th-minute centre from the left.
Bony applied gloss to the scoreline four minutes later. Hernandez was again the provider as the Dutchman outjumped Turner.
Cardiff remain second bottom and three points from safety, while Swansea leap up to 10th in the table.
Swansea City head coach Garry Monk: "I just said to the boys, there's probably not a person prouder of them than me right now – for the club, for the fans and for them themselves.
"The bottom line is it's about football, isn't it? Everything goes on outside, and I've been through it myself as a player, but everything that goes on in that changing room stays in that changing room.
"Those boys were magnificent, I couldn't have asked for more from them. I had to think about the game a bit differently. I had to switch my mind from a player to a more tactical kind of mind, obviously with the passion. I said to the boys, I''m no different. I haven't changed overnight. But there's a job to do.'
"This week we got them back on the training ground, isolated them there not to think about anything else and gave them training where they didn't have time to think. I think you're at your best as a footballer where you don't have time to think. The training was designed to be like that – to be sharp, to be intense.
"They took that out there [on Saturday] because that's exactly what they were. They were magnificent and thoroughly deserved the win."
Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "We came in at half-time thinking that's the best first half we've played – under me anyway. Coming in 0-0 here, we had the game where we wanted but the start of the second half, of course, is a bitter blow.
"Then we had a good response by the lads, as they always give me. We created a few chances - Craig hit the crossbar and there was a scramble where Kim Bo [Kyung] got the ball after the free-kick and it could be a draw.
"League position is one thing - I think everyone that's related to the club, we knew we were going to have to battle in the situation we're in now.
"Psychologically, it can go both ways; I think I'll get a reaction and a response. The dressing room is obviously downbeat after a defeat against your worst enemy but we've got a massive game on Tuesday against Villa, who are also in a similar situation to us. So we've got to respond and bounce back for that one and I'm sure they will because of the characters and personalities in there. That’s the way they are."
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|15 Mar 2014||v West Brom (H)|
|26 Apr 2014||v Aston Villa (H)|
|22 Mar 2014||v Everton (A)|
|11 May 2014||v Sunderland (A)|