Federico Fernandez believes the hard work starts now for Swansea City as they sprint for the line in the race for Premier League survival.
The Swans return to top-flight action when they make the tricky trip to Manchester United next weekend.
Carlos Carvalhal’s men have given themselves a survival chance courtesy of a spectacular improvement in form since the Portuguese took over at the end of December.
But with eight games of a turbulent Premier League campaign remaining, Fernandez has warned that it is the Swans’ results during the final push which will decide their fate this season.
“We have turned things around and we have put ourselves in a good position,” the Swans skipper said.
“We are three points above the relegation zone at the moment, which will be a shock for a lot of people when you look where we were a couple of months ago.
“It is in our hands, but we have not achieved anything yet. We need to keep going, keep working hard and try to take points as soon as possible as we try to achieve our objective.”
The Swans have 31 points on the board after 30 league matches, enough to put them 14th in the table as things stand.
That sort of tally looked a long way off when Carvalhal arrived at the club, at which point the team he inherited had taken a mere 13 points from the first 20 games of the 2017-18 top-flight campaign.
The huge upturn in results inspired by Carvalhal has given the Swans belief heading into the closing stages of the season – but Fernandez is not celebrating yet.
“You can see how tight the table is. You need to look every week how we do and how the other clubs do because it can change so quickly,” he added.
“It will be tough for everyone during the run-in, but we just have to try to focus on every game we play. Every point is massive for us and we have to take as many as we can.
“We need to keep going the way we have under Carlos. We have to keep training as we have and stay focused.”
The Swans’ preparations for the Old Trafford trip have been disrupted by the international break.
But Fernandez is confident Carvalhal’s squad will be rejuvenated once they are fully reunited later in the week.
“The players who are not with their countries have had a chance to have a little bit of rest and recharge,” the Argentine said.
“After losing in the FA Cup, we have only the Premier League, our main competition, to think about now and all our focus is on the games we have left.
“We will all be back fit and ready for Manchester United.”