Bob Bradley: Swansea City face test of character
31st October 2016
Bob Bradley admitted Swansea City are facing a test of their "character and determination" after watching his team go down 3-1 on a disappointing night at Stoke City.
The Swans' winless Premier League was stretched to nine games as they were well beaten in the Potteries.
The Swans find themselves five points adrift of safety in the relegation zone, and Bradley concedes that his players - and his staff - must now show their mettle.
"When things are going in the wrong direction, it takes a real strong effort from everybody to turn it around," said the Swans boss.
"When a team has gone through a bad stretch, there's no magic way of getting some confidence back.
"It's a test of everybody's character and determination every single day.
"Let's face it, that's where we are. We know that.
"It's a huge job we have. I knew that from the start. Let's be honest, when there's a managerial change, it's because things have not gone well.
"When you come in and look at the fixtures, it's not like you do it with guarantees of points.
"In the Premier League, there's no free points. To win games you need a combination of your football and your mentality, and tonight I don't think we were good enough in either category."
The Swans were behind after only three minutes, when they failed to deal with a corner and Joe Allen's shot was turned in by Wilfried Bony.
Bradley's men responded admirably, levelling the scores just five minutes later when Wayne Routledge nodded in his first goal of the season.
But the Swans were fortunate to go in at half-time level as Charlie Adam twice hit the woodwork and Marko Arnautovic rounded Lukasz Fabianski only to see his shot come back off the post.
But Stoke did retake the lead early in the second period when the unfortunate Alfie Mawson turned Ramadan Sobhi's cross-shot into his own net.
And the Potters made it 3-1 on 73 minutes when Bony headed in his second goal from Allen's pass.
The Swans were awarded a penalty late on after Erik Pieters hauled down Routledge, but referee Michael Oliver changed his mind and gave a free-kick right on the edge of the box after speaking to his assistant.
Bradley felt his team were unlucky to be denied the spot-kick, but admitted that was not the only problem on a difficult night for his team.
"It would have been interesting to get to 3-2 and see if we could push at the end, but certainly when we look at the whole game there are more things to consider," he added.
"It was a terrible start for us - an early corner and we didn't win the first header. Neil (Taylor) is in a good position but the header didn't go where it needed to go, then we lost track of Bony.
"We were a little fortunate to go in level at half-time, but then we talked about needing belief and needing to raise our level.
"We said we had to be able to match them physically better than we had in the first half, but I think that was a factor in the game.
"We also made mistakes. On the second goal, Leroy (Fer) and Alfie went for the same header and that left a big gap in the defence.
"There are a lot of things we need to work on."