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Swans go round again - Interview
Monday, 19th Apr 2021 19:49 by Clive Whittingham

Steven Carroll from the SOS fanzine and Phil Sumbler from Planet Swans reflect on a Swansea season destined to end in another play-off tilt, but without the form to give much confidence it’ll go any better than last year's.

How would you assess Swansea's season so far?

SC: It’s been good on the whole, we weren’t expecting promotion so to be up there at this stage of the season, more or less guaranteed a play-off spot and with an outside chance of top 2 would have to be seen as overachieving.

PS: One that keeps promising so much but ultimately seems to let us down just as we start to believe again. Ultimately we are third in the table so we shouldn’t complain too much but we have never – other than maybe a short period around Christmas – looked anything like the quality of Norwich or Watford.

Swansea league results so far…
Preston 0-1 Swansea Gibbs-White 53
Swansea 0-0 Birmingham
Wycombe 0-2 Swansea Ayew 13, Lowe 23
Swansea 2-1 Millwall Bidwell 46, Cabango 68 – Bradshaw 51
Swansea 1-2 Huddersfield Ayew pen 33 – Toffolo 23, Koroma 67
Coventry 1-1 Swansea Shipley 19 – Ayew 41
Bristol City 1-1 Swansea Wells pen 83 – Lowe 51
Swansea 2-0 Stoke Fulton 30, Palmer 87
Swansea 2-0 Blackburn Cabango 25, Ayew 61
Brentford 1-1 Swansea Toney 36 – Ayew 77
Norwich 1-0 Swansea Stiepermann 84
Swansea 1-0 Rotherham Grimes 28
Swansea 1-1 Sheff Wed Ayew 60 – Reach 27
Forest 0-1 Swansea Roberts 43
Boro 2-1 Swansea Watmore 26, 67 – Dhanda 78
Swansea 2-0 Luton Roberts 2, Ayew 89
Bournemouth 0-0 Swansea
Cardiff 0-2 Swansea Lowe 6, 72
Derby 2-0 Swansea Kazim Richards 4, Jozwiak 37
Swansea 2-0 Barnsley Lowe 2, Adeboyejo og 66
QPR 0-2 Swansea Ayew 44, Lowe 50
Swansea 0-0 Reading
Swansea 2-1 Watford Lowe 43, 67 – Cleverley 20
Barnsley 0-2 Swansea Cabango 45, Lowe 55
Swansea 1-1 Brentford Hourihane 78 – Fosu-Henry 74
Rotherham 1-3 Swansea ladapo 65 – Hourihane 28, Grimes 38, Fulton 74
Swansea 2-0 Norwich Ayew 42, Hourihane 48
Swansea 1-0 Forest Roberts 87
Huddersfield 4-1 Swansea Campbell 22, O’Brien 49, Holmes 52, 55 -Hourihane 45
Swansea 1-0 Coventry Cabango 54
Swansea 1-3 Bristol City Ayew pen 55 – Wells 66, Palmer 80, Semenyo 90
Stoke 1-2 Swansea Powell 6 – Roberts 19, Ayew pen 90
Swansea 2-1 Middlesbrough Ayew 40, pen 90 – Morsy 90
Blackburn 1-1 Swansea Dack 37 – Ayew pen 41
Luton 0-1 Swansea Hourihane 3
Bournemouth 3-0 Swansea Billing 9, Latibeaudiere og 45, Groeneveld 87
Swansea 0-1 Cardiff Flint 8
Birmingham 1-0 Swansea Hogan pen 90
Millwall 0-3 Swansea Ayew 45, Lowe 76, 85
Sheff Wed 0-2 Swansea Lowe 31, Fulton 73
Wycombe 2-2 Swansea Lowe pen 80, Cullen 82 – Muskwe 46, McCleary 51

Little wobble recently, what caused that and is it over now with the two wins this week?

SC: The wobble had been coming to be honest, we don’t create enough chances. Our success has been built on clean sheets, our levels have dropped recently so it’s no shock that we’ve struggled to win games. I didn’t watch our game on Saturday as I was at a wedding, but those I’ve spoken to weren’t impressed. And drawing at home to the bottom side who are all but down is a poor result to say the least.

PS: We seemed to run out of steam, confidence and ideas all at the same time. The formation that served us so well for 12 months let us down and we seemed to not have a plan B to rely on at any time. The two away wins I thought had seen us turn the corner but Saturday against Wycombe was another step backwards.

General consensus on how Steve Cooper's done for you guys?

SC: Cooper has done well with limited resources, and as I said we are definitely overachieving. Although I must admit we are not easy on the eye and it’s debatable how sustainable this is long term. We’ve been the masters of scoring from our first proper chance and it against the run of play (the game at a Loftus Road being a good example) and in general once we go in front we usually see if out.

PS: Talk about splitting opinion amongst a fanbase. Some will say that he is doing a fantastic job with no backing from the owners whilst others think he is the devil reincarnated. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, he seems incredibly reluctant to change things when they aren’t working and certainly has some players in his team he will not rest even though they blatantly need it. Two play-off campaigns in two years says a reasonable picture about his time here but we aren’t good on the eye.

I've seen some criticism of the January transfer business, lost Gibbs-White obviously and didn't strengthen enough when in contention for the autos, is that justified?

SC: We did strengthen but with hindsight our business probably wasn’t the best. Conor Hourihane has done well in patches but doesn’t dominate games, he’s a player who has his moments rather than anything else. The other five signings haven’t really played. It’s debatable who sanctioned them, especially the American players I would say. Losing Gibbs-White was a big blow, he only played six times for us due to injury but I think his creativity would’ve made a huge difference.

PS: The thing was we did strengthen. We made several signings (Morris, Arriola, Whittaker and Hourihane as well as a very odd signing from Swindon in Freeman). Problem was Morris went back injured as did Arriola, Hourihane just hasn’t done what we all hoped and Whittaker impresses but doesn’t get the game time. In January most Swans fans would have called this a good window, in April it looks anything but.

Summer Ins >>> Jamal Lowe, 26, RW, Wigan, £800k >>> Ryan Manning, 24, LB, QPR, £150k >>> Ryan Bennett, 30, CB, Wolves, Undisclosed >>> Joel Latibeaudiere, 20, CB, Man City, Undisclosed >>> Korey Smith, 29, DM, Bristol City, Free >>> Freddie Woodman, 23, GK, Newcastle, Loan >>> Morgan Gibbs-White 20, AM, Wolves, Loan >>> Marc Guehi, 20, CB, Chelsea, Loan >>> Viktor Gyokeres, 22, CF, Brighton, Loan >>> Kasey Palmer, 23, AM, Bristol City, Loan

Summer Outs >>> Joe Rodon, 22, CB, Spurs, £10.8m >>> Bersant Celina, 24, AM, Dijon, £2.7m >>> Kristoffer Peterson, 25, LW, Dusseldorf, £400k >>> Erwin Mulder, 31, GK, Heerenveen, Free >>> Courtney Baker-Richardson, 24, CF, Barrow, Free >>> Jefferson Montero, 30, RW, Released >>> Nathan Dyer, 31, LW, Released >>> Mike van der Hoorn, 27, CB, Bielefeld (Germany), Free >>> Joel Asoro, 21, CF, Genoa, Loan >>> Josh Gould, 23, GK, Barry Town, Loan >>> Barrie McKay, 25, LW, Fleetwood, Loan >>> Brandon Cooper, 21, CB, Newport, Loan

Winter Ins >>> Morgan Whittaker, 20, CF, Derby, £700k >>> Ben Hamer, 33, GK, Huddersfield, Undisclosed >>> Kieron Freeman, 29, RB, Swindon, Undsiclosed >>> Conor Hourihane, 29, CM, Villa, Loan >>> Jordan Morris, 26, AM, Seattle, Loan >>> Paul Arriola, 26, CM, DC United, Loan

Winter Outs >>> Joel Asoro, 21, CF, Djurgarden (Sweden), £630k >>> Declan John 25, LB, Bolton, Loan >>> George Byers, 25, CM, Portsmouth, Loan >>> Jordan Garrick, 22, RW, Swindon, Loan

Player of the season candidates?

SC: The two for me are Marc Guehi and Connor Roberts. The former has grown from a boy into a man firing his time here, he’s going to be a top player for someone. Roberts meanwhile is everywhere, no one covers as much ground as him.

PS: Connor Roberts. There isn’t a doubt.

Weak links in the side?

SC: Freddie Woodman our keeper has become a bit weak, he’s cost us a few goals recently, he was at fault or the second goal on Saturday. I would’ve said Jamal Lowe but now he’s broken his goal duck he’s hopefully a new man.

PS: Conor Hourihane is not so much a weak link but can be a passenger despite his goals and assists but for me the weak link is a midfield that looks static and slow at the best of times.

Thoughts on Ryan Manning's first year with you?

SC: Manning has been a bit unlucky, he offers more than Jake Bidwell in my view but because he started the season well it’s taken him a while to get into the side. Long term I think he’ll be first choice.

PS: My mother always taught me if I couldn’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all.

Do you think you'll see promotion through?

SC: I don’t think we will, don’t see us scoring enough goals and now our defence doesn’t keep as many clean sheets as it was so I’m expecting us to fall short.

PS: Nope.

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

The Twitter @loftforwords, @StevenSOS1987, @swansnews

Pictures – Action Images

Action Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

Paddyhoops added 20:28 - Apr 19
So it looks like Manning is marmite at Swansea as well!!

TacticalR added 21:48 - Apr 19
Thanks to Steven and Phil.

It sounds like Swansea have moved away from their passing style, but as they have been in the play-off places for two seasons the fans have accepted that.

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