Birmingham boss Lee Bowyer admitted his decision to hand Troy Deeney the captaincy ahead of the 2-1 Championship win over Swansea might have given him “that extra edge”.
Deeney, on his first start in four games, bagged Blues’ first goal in nearly 10 hours of football after 47 minutes to set up the win.
Substitute Michael Obafemi thought he had earned the Swans a share of the spoils with a 77th-minute leveller but Riley McGree scored a deserved winner for the hosts with eight minutes to go.
Reflecting on his decision to make Deeney his skipper for the day, Bowyer said: “I know what it’s like to play for your boyhood club and for him to be captain, I knew it would mean a lot to him.
“He’s a leader, a winner, a fighter, so I felt it was the right decision.
“There’s been pressure on him. You want to show everyone how good you are. He’s been excellent in training and deserved to be captain.
“I know it means the world to him and it might give him – and us – that extra edge, him being captain.”
The home side had not scored in their previous six games, dropping down to 19th in the table after a dismal run.
But they were good value for their win over a Swans side who had been on an upward trajectory after picking up seven points from nine.
And Bowyer added: “We’ve finally scored and to get three points against a good Swansea side is great and I think we deserve it.
“We could have scored more and won by more. We haven’t been playing that badly but have been missing chances.
“Fortunately, we scored two today and it gives the players a boost. I’m pleased because they have got their reward.”
Visiting boss Russell Martin, who felt Tahith Chong was offside in the build-up to the opener, had told his Swansea players to maintain their intensity as they went seeking a third-consecutive victory.
But, having seen off Cardiff and West Brom previously, he admitted his side might have paid the price for a hectic week.
“It’s been an emotional and physically tough week for the guys,” he said. “I think it was one game too many for some of the players.
“We are nowhere near the finished article and I said that after two great results.
“But I give the lads the benefit of the doubt. I’m proud of what they have done this week and I just think they were really, really tired.
“We were beaten against a team who had a little bit more energy than us on the day.”
He added: “Even so, I thought at 1-1 we had a chance to win the game or at least secure a point so it was frustrating that we were undone.”