Bob Bradley: Swansea City face critical period
1st December 2016
Bob Bradley has urged his players to seize their opportunity to climb the Premier League table during a "critical period" in Swansea City's season.
The Swans face a tricky trip to Tottenham Hotspur - a club they have never beaten since promotion to the top flight in 2011 - this weekend as they bid to build on last weekend's morale-boosting triumph over Crystal Palace.
After Spurs, the Swans have six successive fixtures against sides who are currently in mid-table or lower.
And Bradley believes that after a turbulent start to this campaign, his team now have the chance to change the narrative of their season.
"I think it's a critical period between now and the beginning of the new year," he said.
"I keep getting asked questions about the January transfer window, but I also understand that between now and then, there are a lot of important matches.
"It's a busy schedule through the holidays, and it's an opportunity for us to turn things around - to put a bad start behind us and really give a bit more belief to the idea that we are ready to end the season in a strong way."
The best the Swans have managed in 10 Premier League meetings with Spurs is two draws, the most recent of which came in October last year.
They have never got so much as a point at White Hart Lane, and Bradley is expecting a stern test against Mauricio Pochettino's fifth-placed team.
Even so, he reckons the Swans' ability to impose themselves on their hosts will be key to their hopes of getting a result on Saturday.
"Like many teams, Spurs have interesting ways to try to open up space," Bradley added.
"They push their full-backs very high, they bring Christian Eriksen inside, Dele Alli is good at finding space and Harry Kane is a top striker.
"It's a good test - they are a good team. But it's an important opportunity for us to build on a good result against Crystal Palace.
"It's an opportunity to go after Spurs in the right way and play for three points. That's our mentality.
"The last game was a positive step, but if we can put a string of performances and results together, then the conversation changes in a much better way. We all know that.
"It's step by step and we are not getting ahead of ourselves. Spurs will be a good test, but it's a really good opportunity to go there and play our football.
"In our preparation work, we have talked about some of the things we will be up against, but we have really gone out of our way to remind the players that what's important is our football, our mentality and who we are."
Bradley on Brian Flynn joining the Swans' scouting staff
"I know he played a really important role in some of the success that has taken place here.
"His eye for talent has paid off in the past. When you talk about recruitment, it starts with people who can spot talent, and his track record in that regard at Swansea is special.
"He also has experience as a manager, and I am looking forward to working with him. Getting a football man like him on board is fantastic for all of us."
Bradley on his team's mood since Palace
"I have said many times that when a team go through a bad stretch, you need some results to turn things around.
"Last Saturday provided a really good moment for us. The players were excited - there was real pride in the dressing room after the game.
"At that moment, the details did not matter, the outcomes mattered.
"When it looked like things were going against us, we found a way to turn it around, and that's something you feel good about."
Bradley on the Swans' record against Spurs
"I have heard about it. I have looked back at some of last season's game there.
"The first thing is that Spurs are quite a good team. When you play them, you have to do a lot of things really well.
"They are going to press and make it difficult for us to find a passing rhythm, so we have to look to play quickly and move the ball into space, as we have done at times in the last few weeks."
Bradley on the need for clean sheets
"I think that's a very important part of us becoming a complete team - the ability to keep a clean sheet and win a game 1-0.
"We thought Watford was a step in the right direction but we have not been able to follow through on that.
"There is a mentality that comes with being hard to play against and keeping clean sheets. We have to make that more a part of our game."
Bradley on Harry Kane
"He is a very good striker. Most of all he is a terrific finisher - give him any chance and he has a really solid record of hitting the target and scoring goals.
"Everybody has to concentrate in every moment against a player like him because he will pounce on the slightest slip."