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Swans' bright start giving way to unrest over results and style - Interview
Monday, 10th Feb 2020 19:07 by Clive Whittingham

Steven Carroll from the Swansea Oh Swansea fanzine says a barnstorming start to the season is masking a multitude of problems with Steve Cooper and his side since then, as QPR prepare to visit South Wales on Tuesday.

To an outsider Steve Cooper looks like he’s done a steady job, but I’ve noticed some disquiet about style of play etc, most notably on the front of your January fanzine, can you expand a little bit on how he’s done and why the criticism?

Our league position isn't bad obviously but the fact we won five of our first six games is why we are where we are. We've only won seven of the 25 league games since, which is not far off relegation form. Performances are what concerns me more to be honest, every player who was here last season has not improved under Steve Cooper. Stats will say our possession stats are still good but it's down on last year and we just don't create enough chances. Our win at your place was a good example, we were clinical that day but it was a fairly even game that we were a bit fortunate to win. and defensively we're not as strong as we were so things aren't as rosy as people may think

Swansea league results so far…
Swansea 2-1 Hull (Baston 47, Van Der Hoorn 49 – Batty 3)
Derby 0-0 Swansea
Swansea 3-2 Preston (Baston 45, 69, Byers 63 – Rafferty 11, Johnson pen 67)
QPR 1-3 Swansea (Hugill 66 – Celina 29, Baston pen 70, Surridge 80)
Swansea 3-0 Birmingham (Naughton 63, Celina 68, Baston pen 75)
Leeds 0-1 Swansea (Routledge 90)
Swansea 0-1 Forest (Semedo 85)
Bristol City 0-0 Swansea
Swansea 1-1 Reading (Baston 3 – Yiadom 90)
Charlton 1-2 Swansea (Leko 2 – Dhanda 17, Ayew 65)
Swansea 1-2 Stoke (Ayew 1 – Clucas 22, Hogan 90)
Barnsley 1-1 Stoke (Mowatt 70 – Ayew 67)
Swansea 0-3 Brentford (Benrahma 30, Bidwell og 36, Mbeumo 56)
Swansea 1-0 Cardiff (Wilmott 24)
Wigan 1-2 Swansea (Moore pen 21 – Dyer 12, Surridge 90)
Sheff Wed 2-2 Swansea (Forestieri 81, Fox 90 – Ayew 32, Wilmot 90)
Swansea 0-1 Millwall (Wallace 65)
Huddersfield 1-1 Swansea (Grant 41 – Fulton 18)
Swansea 1-2 Fulham (Byers 65 – Mitrovic 22, 43)
West Brom 5-1 Swansea (Ajayi 25, Pereira 34, Robson-Kanu 44, Phillips 77, Edwards 74 - Surridge 39)
Swansea 1-1 Blackburn (Ayew 4 – Graham 10)
Swansea 3-1 Middlesbrough (Ayew pen 22, 71, Surridge 73 – Tavernier 59)
Luton 0-1 Swansea (Ayew 82)
Brentford 3-1 Swansea (Mbeumo 20, Watkins 25, 88 – Ayew 65)
Swansea 0-0 Barnsley
Swansea 1-0 Charlton (Dhanda 14)
Cardiff 0-0 Swansea
Swansea 2-1 Wigan (Brewster 19, Ayew 67 – Byrne 16)
Stoke 2-0 Swansea (Clucas 55, McClean 90)
Preston 1-1 Swansea (Sinclair 28 – Brewster 33)
Swansea 2-3 Derby (Dhanda 56, Naughton 58 – Waghorn 8, Holmes 64, Lawrence 80

Eye catching loan arrivals in January, what did you make of the business done?

I was pleased with our business in January, and pleasantly surprised. I thought a striker may come in but that was about it, but to get a creative midfielder and another centre half was encouraging. None of those who left will be missed either.

Summer Ins: >>> Kristoffer Petersen, 24, LW, Heracles, £495k >>> Jake Bidwell, 26, LB, QPR, Free >>> Ben Wilmot, 19, CB, Watford, Loan >>> , 22, GK, Newcastle, Loan >>> Sam Surridge, 21, CF, Bournemouth, Loan >>> Aldo Kalulu, 23, RW, Basel, Loan

Summer Outs: Tartan McPartick, 23, CF, Sheff Utd, £17m >>> Daniel James, 21, LW, Man Utd, £15m >>> Jordan Ayew, 27, Alleged CF, Palace, £2.5m >>> Leroy Fer, 29, CM, Feyenoord, Free >>> Luciano Narsingh, 28, RW, Feyenoord, Free >>> Adam King, 23, CM, Dundee Utd, Free >>> Jefferson Montero, 29, RW, Birmingham, Loan >>> Joel Asoro, 20, CF, Groningen, Loan >>> Steven Benda, 20, GK, Swindon, Loan >>> Wilfried Bony, 30, CF, Released >>> Martin Olson, 31, LB, Released >>> Botti Biabi, 23, CF, Ebsfleet, Free >>> Courtney Baker-Richardson, 24, CF, Accrington, Loan

Winter Ins: >>> Conor Gallagher, 19, CM, Chelsea, Loan >>> Marc Guehi, 19, CB, Chelsea, Loan >>> Rhian Brewster, 19, CF, Liverpool, Loan >>>

Winter Outs: >>> Borja Baston, 27, CF, Villa, Free >>> Cian Harries, 22, CB, Bristol Rovers, Free >>> Kristoffer Petersen, 24, LW, Utrecht, Loan >>> Little Tom Carroll, 24, CM, Released

Can you talk to us a bit about your ownership situation – once a model club, now less so and I notice also selling your academy buildings to the local Uni and downgrading which seems a retrograde step…

We have an American consortium as owners but they are very much in the background with Trevor Birch calling the shots, this is definitely for the best as the Yanks have done nothing good for this club since buying it. Plus there is a potential court case looming over the sale of club between the Supporters Trust and the Americans and former shareholders. At this stage we are not selling the academy buildings or downgrading it, but that may happen in time as parachute payments are reduced and finally run out. Hopefully not though as we've produced a few good players over the last couple of years.

Stand out players and weak links in the side?

Standout player is probably Andre Ayew, he plays from the right but likes to drift in. Rhian Brewster and Conor Gallagher have looked decent since coming in on loan as well. Weakness would be Jake Bidwell if he plays which I'm sure won’t surprise you, he's not very popular amongst our fans after several unconvincing displays.

Expectations for the rest of the season?

I'd like to say top six but I really don't think we're good enough. I think we could get in there if things click, but it doesn't look like it right now. We need to go on a run and it needs to start against you on Tuesday.

If promotion isn’t achieved, with the parachute payments dwindling, what next?

Inevitably it means player sales, Andre Ayew and Joe Rodon are most likely ones to leave. We have around six out of contract and six on loan, they'll all go leaving us with single figures worth of players. So a major rebuild will be needed with not much money, next season will be tough and recruitment is going to be vital, if we get it wrong we will be struggling next season

Links >>> Official Website >>> Planet Swans – Blog and Forum >>> Wales Online – Local Paper >>> The Jack Army – Forum >>> SOS - Fanzine

The Twitter @loftforwords, @StevenSOS1987

Pictures – Action Images

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TacticalR added 16:07 - Feb 11
Thanks to Steven.

It feels to me like Swansea have lost their way after years of having a consistent philosophy. The American takeover has been another mess with people who don't know anything about football trying to join the Premiership gold rush.
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