Happier times ahead, says Fabianski
Lukasz Fabianski has set his sights on a “way better” season in 2017-18 after Swansea City proved their Premier League class in the second half of the last campaign.
The Swans were heading for the Championship having taken only 12 points from the first half of the top-flight season which drew to a close last weekend.
But a remarkable upturn in fortunes saw them pull clear of danger and they ended up guaranteeing survival with a game to spare.
The Swans then beat West Brom Albion on the final day to finish with 29 points from their 19 league games following Paul Clement’s appointment at the beginning of January.
In terms of points gained, that made the run for home in 2016-17 the Swans’ best half-season since they were promoted to the top tier back in 2011.
And Fabianski believes the standard has been set for the club’s seventh Premier League campaign.
“Hopefully this season will be crucial for this club, not just the players, because it will remind us what is important,” the Swans goalkeeper said.
“You need stability and you need a manager like the one we have now.
“To go forward, I think we have a very good starting position.
“Now we have to continue to grow as a team and as a group and continue to improve as a team.
“We must try to start next season strongly. We have proved we can get a good number of points in the second half of this season.
“We took 29 points from the last 19 games. That’s very good. If we continue like that, we will have a good season. Hopefully it will be way better than this one.”
The Swans finished 2015-16 in some style, with Guidolin landing a new contract on the back of his team’s late-season form.
But after a slow start to the last campaign, the Italian made way for Bob Bradley.
He lasted only 11 league games, however, before the Swans decided a further change of management was needed, hence Clement arrived from Bayern Munich.
And Fabianski reckons the mood at the Liberty changed from the moment Clement walked through the door.
“As soon as the new manager came in, you could see he was very straightforward with his ideas and his message,” Fabianski added.
“His training is very good and I think all the players bought into it straightway. You could see the impact immediately.
“The first half of the season was chaotic, but the new manager calmed everything down and we focused on what we had to do. It just clicked.
“You felt this was the guy you wanted to play for. The way he talks gives you belief and confidence. We responded to what he said.
“The second part of the season was great. Even when we had the bad run, we only lost games narrowly so there was not much to change.”
Fabianski believes that having been rejuvenated by Clement, the Swans’ players displayed their quality – and their mental strength – to win the relegation scrap they had looked like losing.
And the 32-year-old picks out the 1-1 draw at Manchester United on April 30 – the fourth-to-last game of the season – as the key result during the race for the line.
“I heard so many pundits saying that our run-in was tough and that we would go down, but we were able to prove them wrong,” Fabianski said.
“We showed our character and quality and ended up 15th. That just shows that it’s not over until it’s over.
“I am just happy for the team that we didn’t crumble. We showed our character.
“I remember the game against United. Stoke was important the week before, but playing at United after Hull got that point at Southampton was big I think.
“We knew we couldn’t afford to lose that game. I am not saying the draw was the crucial point, but I think mentally Hull knew then that we wouldn’t give up.
“The next weekend they lost at home, which did not happen often, and we were able to take our chance.”