'A long way to run'
Carlos Carvalhal has told his Swansea City side there is a “long way to run” in the race for Premier League survival.
The Swans have given themselves a chance of staying up by banking 14 points from seven top-flight games since Carvalhal was appointed at the end of the December.
But they are just a point outside the relegation places ahead of Saturday’s meeting with another side who are scrapping to avoid the drop, Brighton and Hove Albion.
The table is extraordinarily tight, with only five points separating 11th-placed Watford and Stoke in 19th.
And Carvalhal reckons the logjam at the bottom shows how much work there is still to do.
“I think it’s normal for this competition to be close because there are not big differences between the teams,” he said.
“Some clubs started the season very well and then lost some points. Other teams, like us, did not start so well but have picked up some more points recently.
“The season is a marathon, and at the end of the marathon the worst team will be last and the best team will be first.
“We are fighting to be one of the teams who stay out of the last three positions.
“We are fighting very hard but there’s still a long way to run.”
The Swans have 27 points on the board after 27 league matches.
Traditionally, 40 points is seen as the safety line in the Premier League, although often it has not ended up being that high in recent years.
But Carvalhal insists he is ignoring the numbers and focusing instead on trying to get a positive result every time his team step on to the pitch.
“I don’t know what we will need. I don’t think about maths because football is not that predictable,” he added.
“It could be 38 points, it could be 42 points, it could even be 44.
“So the best thing is to concentrate on trying to take points from every game we play and not worry about statistics.
“It’s like if you and me went for a picnic. We take a chicken and I eat all of it and you have none, but statistically you have eaten half of the chicken. This is why I don’t look at statistics.”