Bob Bradley: Swansea City proved their pride
10th December 2016
Bob Bradley reckons his players displayed their pride in the Swansea City shirt after a rousing 3-0 victory over Sunderland.
The Swans bounced back from last weekend's bleak defeat at Tottenham Hotspur by delivering their most comprehensive win of the season.
A penalty from Gylfi Sigurdsson and two more goals for Fernando Llorente saw the Swans make it two home victories in succession, and lifted them out of the Premier League relegation zone.
And Bradley beamed: "That's a nice bonus, although there is still lots of work to do and we cannot get ahead of ourselves.
"I have had discussions with a lot of my players this week, and the word many of them used was pride.
"I said back to them: 'What does pride look like on the field? Pride has to turn intensity and clean sheets, you can't just talk about pride'.
"You have to turn that pride into something more, and at the end of that game we can look at the table and say that while we are not out of trouble yet, it looks better than last week.
"Now the challenge for us is to keep on going."
The Swans had looked marginally more menacing in a fairly cagey first half against Sunderland, with Jordi Amat and Alfie Mawson heading over from Sigurdsson set-pieces.
But the game changed early in the second period when the breakthrough came from the penalty spot.
Wayne Routledge's cross was handled by Jason Denayer, and the officials deemed that his arm had been in unnatural position.
Sigurdsson stepped up to sweep home the penalty and the Swans did not look back.
Just three minutes after the opener, the hosts were 2-0 up. Sigurdsson was involved again, drilling in a low corner for Llorente to steer a shot into the net in what looked like a move which was thought up on the training ground.
Unlike against Crystal Palace in their last home game, the Swans never looked like giving up their two-goal lead.
And they put another layer of gloss on the victory when substitute Jefferson Montero rounded Billy Jones before crossing for Llorente to power in a far-post header.
Bradley was full of praise for Llorente, the summer signing from Sevilla who is finding some form after a slow start to his Swans career.
And he was also keen to salute two more senior figures in his team, Leon Britton and Angel Rangel.
"Today we got a good response from what happened at Tottenham," Bradley said.
"We got very important efforts from a number of players. Angel and Leon personify what Swansea City has been about.
"Bringing them back into the team today in an important game at the Liberty, they put some fantastic work in.
"And Fernando has not been here that long, but he also has experience which has to be utilised.
"The three of them bring the type of leadership on the field we want to see, and we absolutely believe that Fernando can be an important player for us.
"He has been a winner, and every manager will tell you that it's great to have winners in your team."
Bradley, meantime, insisted he has not been troubled by the criticism of his side in the wake of the Spurs reverse.
"It's part of the job for any Premier League manager," he said.
"I don't think I'm the only one who has been criticised in the last few weeks. There are probably 15 to 19 Premier League managers who have been criticised.
"It's part of the job and you can't let it affect your way of working or the message you are giving to the players every day."