Bob Bradley: Swansea City must get both boxes right
22nd December 2016
Bob Bradley has urged Swansea City to get things right in both boxes when they go in search of a Boxing Day triumph over West Ham.
The Swans suffered bleak defeats at West Brom and Middlesbrough last week, but they go into the Hammers clash looking for a third successive home victory.
And Bradley reckons the key to moving on from two difficult away days will be improving at both ends of the pitch.
"In the 10 games I have been here, a lot of it has come down to making plays in both boxes," said the Swans boss.
"Our build-up play has improved. We have had some good periods of possession in games, but the end product has not always been what it needs to be.
"Defensively we talk about improving, but in some games we have not actually conceded many chances.
"We are all tired of statistics which show the opposition had maybe four shots but scored three goals.
"They tell you we are doing some good things, but it also puts under the microscope the certain aspects of our defending which have to improve."
The losses at The Hawthorns and the Riverside Stadium were particularly difficult for Bradley to take because his team started both games well.
"Were we easy to play against in the first half at West Brom? I don't think so," he added.
"We had a good first half, then we gave up a goal at a set-piece and the challenge was to stay in the game, but we let it get away from us.
"At Middlesbrough we had some advantages for 15 minutes. We had some situations where we could be dangerous and take the lead.
"When you have those opportunities, you have to take them. When that didn't happen, we conceded from a situation where we appeared to be in control.
"It's all connected. It's about competing and concentrating for 90 minutes. We cannot let our guard down.
"We have to deal with things that don't go our way. The fact that we haven't done that enough is the reason why we are inconsistent."
Bradley has indicated that Federico Fernandez and Ki Sung-Yueng could both come into contention for the Hammers clash after returning to training following injury lay-offs.
And he believes that scoring the goal could be key to making it a hat-trick of home triumphs after wins over Crystal Palace and Sunderland.
"Every time we have looked on the brink of making a couple of steps forward, we have ended up going backwards again," he said.
"We talk about the importance of starting games well. I believe we have done that pretty well in recent weeks, but often we still concede first.
"Of the 17 games in the league this season, there has been one 0-0. In the other 16, I think we have only scored first four times.
"Then it's a question of how we handle being 1-0 down. We have to try to make sure we understand what to do in these critical moments."
Bradley on West Ham
"I think everyone has been a little surprised by their season. They are a talented team and Slaven Bilic is a good manager.
"We have seen some improvement in their games in the last few weeks.
"Andy Carroll gives them a different dimension. He likes to drift to the back post and we have to make sure our central defenders are aware of it when he does that."
Bradley on criticism of the football terminology he uses
"95 per cent of my vocabulary fits without a problem, but there are some terms in football that come from different places.
"In France I once talked after a game about the importance of a clean sheet and they looked at me and said 'What's a clean sheet?'.
"It wouldn't make sense if I sounded just like everyone else. I have come here to be myself.
"I am a football man. What counts is that what I say resonates with the players."
Bradley on the transfer window
"We have had discussions on many different players. That's normal. The situation in a transfer window changes every second.
"We have all looked hard at the situation we are in. We have all discussed how it's got to this point.
"At the end of those discussions, we have all felt that we have to improve. We all agree that January is going to be important for us."
Bradley on the areas he wants to strengthen
"I think we could use a centre-back and someone who gives us greater presence in midfield.
"In the attacking part of field, I think we have created some opportunities where our moves, our decisions or are our final passes have been right.
"Can we find an attacking player who can help us in those situations, a player who is a little bit more of a threat going behind the defence?"
Bradley on a message to Swans fans
"I would say I understand your frustration. It's been a difficult year, but we are working hard to improve.
"We understand the level has not been good enough, but we are committed and we are fighting to the end to make sure we stay in the Premier League."