Cooper challenges Swans to convert lead

17th May 2021
First team
Barnsley away PO Andre Ayew celebration

Steve Cooper has challenged his Swansea City players to learn their lessons from last year and make sure they convert a semi-final lead into a play-off final appearance.

For the second season in a row, the Swans have won the first leg of their play-off by a single Andre Ayew goal.

The Ghanaian’s strike settled the first 90 minutes against Barnsley at Oakwell, just as he had done at the Liberty against Brentford in July of last year.

On that occasion the Bees were able to overturn the deficit in the second leg – winning 3-1 at Griffin Park – and head coach Cooper and his players will be looking to plot the path to Wembley and avoid any repeat of last term’s disappointment.

“We have been here before, this time last year, and we know it is only a small lead,” said the Swans boss.

“It only matters if you manage it and protect it and that has to be the focus and mentality now going into Saturday.

Barnsley away PO Ben Cabango

“It would be good to have a conversation with the players in the week in preparation, which is what we do, we are open with players and ask them what they think.

“It’s not just about the players who were here last year, but guys like Conor Hourihane who have done it with previous clubs.

“We want to come up with what we think is the right plan.

“The difference is we were away for the second leg last year, while this time we are at home.

“We are going to have supporters in the stadium which will come into the equation, and it will be good to reflect on tonight and make sure we commit to that plan.

“We have to focus on what we are in control of and getting ready to deliver on Saturday.”