Kyle Naughton praises Cooper's attention to detail
Kyle Naughton says Swansea City’s attention to detail under Steve Cooper has been an integral part of their fast start to the season.
The Swans have picked up 13 points from a possible 15, beating Birmingham 3-0 on Sunday to keep pace with Leeds at the summit of the Championship table.
Naughton was among the scorers against the Blues, netting his first goal in nearly a year as he cut in from the left to beat Lee Camp with a low right-footed strike.
Head coach Cooper revealed after the game he had introduced Naughton for Jake Bidwell at the break because he felt there would be opportunities for the right-footed defender to find space infield, and it paid off perfectly.
And Naughton – who recently brought up 150 appearances for the Swans – says the level of detail and the rotation of the squad has been an important factor in the best start to a league season in 41 years.
“He’s managed us very well,” said Naughton of Cooper.
“There have been a lot of meetings. We have focused specifically on set-plays because that was a big area for improvement from last year.
“We’ve also been working hard on our tactics, passing style and trying to keep the ball moving. Since he’s come in, things have worked.
“He’s rotated the team a little bit as well with different players given their opportunity, which is good for those who aren’t always involved.
“That is going to keep us up the higher end of the table.
“The Championship is a long and hectic season, so you need fresh legs. Every man will be needed and, hopefully, they can deliver the goods when called upon.”
It was Naughton's first goal since he scored the equaliser in Swansea's win at Millwall in September 2018.
And it came in very similar fashion, with the defender cutting in from the left to beat the keeper at the near post.
"The ball popped out to the edge of the area and I thought ‘why not?’ I hit it on the turn and it was great to see it fly in at the near post," he said.
"It was nice to get the goal that opened up the game, but it was better for the team. We had a couple of chances in the first half but just couldn’t take them, so it was good to get the ball rolling.
"As a result, they opened up a little bit, started pressing higher and that opened a few gaps in their defence for us to exploit.
"It was quite similar to my goal against Millwall, where I turned and hit the ball back across goal. It seemed to work last year, so I thought I’d try again!"