Match ends, Swansea City 1, Aston Villa 0.
Swansea took a significant stride to securing Premier League survival as they ground out a win against bottom side Aston Villa.
Villa dominated but failed to capitalise on a lethargic Swans display in a goalless first half.
The visitors were made to pay for their profligacy early in the second when Federico Fernandez bundled in.
Swansea are now 11 points clear of the relegation zone in 15th, while Villa remain 12 points adrift of safety.
A third win in four matches made it a happy return to the dugout for Swans head coach Francesco Guidolin, who had missed their last three fixtures with a chest infection.
And despite the unconvincing manner of victory, they will be increasingly confident of a sixth season in the Premier League with seven games of this campaign to go.
For Villa, meanwhile, a sixth successive league defeat makes relegation almost inevitable.
Relive Swansea's 1-0 win over Aston Villa
Villa's familiar failings
Aston Villa had endured another turbulent week typical of a miserable season, with chief executive Tom Fox and sporting director Hendrik Almstadt both leaving the club.
Despite their dismal recent form, Remi Garde's side started the strongest at the Liberty Stadium as Joleon Lescott and Jordan Ayew missed the target with the game's first two shots.
Ciaran Clark then headed narrowly over from a corner, though there was a sinking familiarity to Villa's inability to make their dominance count.
Swans up their game
In Guidolin's absence, assistant coach Alan Curtis had taken charge of Swansea's past three games, winning two and losing one.
Guidolin's return to the touchline failed to inspire his players in a listless first-half display, with the hosts devoid of direction, intensity and invention.
There was an improvement in all aspects after the interval, though there was an element of luck to Swansea's goal.
Gylfi Sigurdsson's curling free-kick prompted panic from onrushing Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, whose hesitation allowed the ball to hit Fernandez's shoulder and loop into the net.
Swansea looked more confident in possession after taking the lead, albeit without the fluency which has become a hallmark of their play in recent years.
Bafetimbi Gomis pulled a shot wide in injury-time but it mattered not to the Swans, who were simply relieved to hold on for victory and haul themselves further clear of the bottom three.
Man of the match - Gylfi Sigurdsson
What the managers said
Aston Villa boss Remi Garde: "Once again it is frustrating to get nothing out of the game. That is something we could not afford in our situation and unfortunately that is the end."
"We deserved a bit more. When we controlled the game, we were not dangerous enough to score a goal. I didn't think they were very threatening for us."
On the departures of chief executive Tom Fox and sporting director Hendrik Almstadt this week: "We showed as a team that we were not too much affected by all this stuff.
"This football club has had a lot of problems in the last few years. We are all in this situation today. The problems are within the club and we have to fight until the end."
Swansea head coach Francesco Guidolin: "It was not a very good performance but the players were concentrated and focused like a final game.
"Our season has not been a good season. When I came two months ago we had only two points on the relegation zone and we're now better than that.
"This is an important result for us."
The stats you need to know
- Swansea have only lost once in their past 11 matches against Aston Villa, winning the last five.
- Aston Villa are winless in seven top-flight matches at Swansea dating back to 1971.
- Swansea had 83% passing accuracy, while Villa managed only 74%.
- Swansea's Jack Cork covered 12.78km at an average speed of 8.03km, making 72 sprints - all of them the highest figures for his team.
Swansea resume their Premier League programme after the international break by travelling to Stoke on 2 April (15:00 BST), when Aston Villa host Chelsea (12:45 BST).
- 35KingsleySubstituted forRoutledgeat 86'minutesBooked at 87mins
- 4Ki Sung-yuengSubstituted forBrittonat 45'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 58BarrowSubstituted forNaughtonat 78'minutes
- 23G SigurdssonBooked at 59mins
- 16LescottBooked at 90mins
- 43CissokhoBooked at 27mins
- 25GilSubstituted forAgbonlahorat 74'minutes
- 17VeretoutSubstituted forGreenat 61'minutes
- 19J Ayew
- 24C Sánchez
- Mike Dean
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Swansea City 1, Aston Villa 0.
Attempt missed. Bafétimbi Gomis (Swansea City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Leroy Fer.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Leon Britton (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Leon Britton (Swansea City).
Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Joleon Lescott (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Bafétimbi Gomis (Swansea City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Joleon Lescott (Aston Villa).
Attempt blocked. Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Andre Green with a cross.
Wayne Routledge (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Wayne Routledge (Swansea City).
Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Swansea City. Wayne Routledge replaces Stephen Kingsley because of an injury.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Stephen Kingsley (Swansea City) because of an injury.
Substitution, Swansea City. Kyle Naughton replaces Modou Barrow.
Leon Britton (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa).