Bob Bradley: Swansea City must react right to bear Manchester United
3rd November 2016
Bob Bradley has told his Swansea City players they must react right against Manchester United this weekend if they are to deliver the first win of his reign.
Bradley concedes that "every game is critical" for his struggling side as they look to climb away from Premier League relegation danger.
The Swans have taken only two points from a possible 27 since their opening-day victory at Burnley.
And Bradley believes his team must be sharper than Jose Mourinho's United on Sunday if they are to bank a first league win in almost three months.
"What I see on the surface is that the group does a good job with everything," said the Swans manager.
"They understand going into a game what the opponent wants to do and some of our ideas on how to handle that.
"But in a match, situations develop quickly, and you need the ability to recognise those situations, to smell danger and react quickly.
"For me, that's the area where I think we are missing the most. That's what I mean when I talk about players lacking confidence.
"In a game you can appear for long stretches to be doing a solid enough job, but you cannot have four, five or six plays where the ball pops loose, the opponent does something a bit different from what you expect and they make something out of it.
"We don't deal with those situations well enough. I have seen examples of that before I came in and I still see them.
"People have made an effort to get back into the game, but in terms of asserting ourselves at the right moment, we have to improve.
"We can't get caught in these situations the way we have been doing, because you concede goals."
Despite the difficult run, Bradley rejects the suggestion that his players are going into games with any fear.
But he says that for all the preparation work they do on the training ground, the Swans must be ready for whatever comes their way once a game kicks off.
"We show videos and work on tactical details, but that is just establishing starting points," Bradley added.
"Then the game starts. I hope we have done a good enough job with the things we have worked on, but then situations happen which you don't always put in the script.
"When the ball pops loose, somebody senses it first and not only gets there, but already knows what the next play is going to be.
"When that happens, you see how the other team responds. I don't think we are at a consistently high level in those situations.
"I have heard a lot of things since the Stoke game. Joe Allen had a very good game, but somebody said he had too much space.
"Actually I don't think that's true. I think we had a pretty good understanding of where he would move and what he would try to do.
"But at the same time, in the course of the game there were four or five plays where he was quicker to see what was going on than we were.
"Look at the goal they scored from the corner. Joe Allen reacts faster than any of our players to where Neil Taylor's header was falling.
"We had four or five guys who were too slow to react and they scored a goal.
"On the day, Stoke won those battles, and these are the things which decide matches."
Bradley on Jefferson Montero
"He is fit. He brings something different - it's been good for me to see him in training.
"He has the ability to make something special happen. That's always important. We will see whether he can start, but it is at least in the discussion."
Bradley on whether he knows his best team
"No I don't. I am trying to figure out what our best XI is. When you have a team that's gone through a stretch of results like we have, you have guys in up and down form.
"I look every day at different combinations on the field. We are still trying find our best group. Those decisions take time."
Bradley on the aftermath of defeat at Stoke
"Normally we play on Saturday, come in on Monday and I will cover some things and then save the video until Tuesday.
"But after Stoke, we played the video very fast the next day because I felt this was a week where we needed to get at certain things.
"The senior players afterwards were quick to say 'That's important - we have to look at those details'."
Bradley on Jose Mourinho's touchline ban
"It makes no difference for me. For me the focus is on our team. I have met Jose along the way.
"I have had a couple of good conversations with him and I hope to catch up with him. nut my focus is on my team, not his touchline ban."
Bradley on the significance of the Manchester United game
"At the moment every game is critical. I said it before the last game and I will say it again.
"I believe we have a good group of players here. They are good guys and they understand the importance of where we are, but we have to turn that into better results.
"If we could beat Manchester United, it would be a reinforcement of the work we do and it would be a confidence booster. Maybe the guys would then think we can put this bad stretch behind us."
Bradley on football's poppy debate
"It's Remembrance Day and it's a symbol for people who have given their lives for their countries. That means everything.
"It's an important part of the way you are brought up in the US. To stand proud with a symbol of those who fought for freedom - for me it is a most important thing."