Michael Duff | This club matches my ambition and I'm excited to get going
Michael Duff has said he intends to build on the foundations already in place at Swansea City after being appointed as the club’s new head coach.
The 45-year-old has put pen to paper on a three-year deal at the Swansea.com Stadium on the eve of pre-season, with the players set to return to Fairwood on Friday ahead of a week-long training camp in La Finca, Spain.
The former Northern Ireland international arrives in SA1 after a successful campaign with Barnsley, which saw them reach the League One play-off final.
Prior to his time in south Yorkshire, he won the League Two title with Cheltenham Town and secured the Robins’ best ever league finish by guiding them to 15th place in League One.
That promotion with Cheltenham marked his seventh as both a player and manager, with Duff racking up over 600 appearances in a 20-year playing career.
He is also the only player to play in the top eight leagues of the English pyramid, while the former defender also earned 24 caps for Northern Ireland.
As a coach, his teams have shown attacking prowess, while an adaptability and desire to find a way to win are also key.
He's also been praised for his ability to galvanise players and he believes a whole-club approach is important to success.
“We need that one team mentality; the players, staff, fans, and board. Everyone needs to pull in the same direction because that’s the only way you’re going to achieve success,” said Duff.
“I’ve had seven promotions in my career as a player and manager so I know what an environment should look and smell like.
“I want to play good football and I know that there is an expectation of that at this football club, but it’s about evolving it, moving it and being a bit more on the front foot and a bit more progressive at times.
“It’s about getting the balance of all those things because ultimately it’s a winning business. You’ve got to win.”
And Duff feels there is already a lot in SA1 that he is able to build on with the players, style and infrastructure already in place.
“I’ve come in with my eyes wide open in terms of the managers who have been here before,” he added.
“If you look at my previous teams, you’ll see we’re aggressive and in your face, we’ll go and press but we look to play football as well.
“I see a lot of good footballers and a lot of talent in the dressing room, so if we can add to that then I see an opportunity to do something.
“Everyone needs to be pulling in the same direction. Everything is about the team."
It’s been a whirlwind couple of days for the former Burnley player, but he’s looking forward the new challenge and starting preparations for the 2023-24 campaign.
“I’m excited to get going and meet the players, because that’s when it’ll really kick in when you’re on the grass and doing your job,” he said.
“There were lots of reasons I wanted to come to Swansea; the step up in level, but also the infrastructure that’s already at the football club, and speaking to the owners and the ambition they’ve got for the club it matches my own ambition.
“My immediate aims are to get a helicopter view of the landscape and the players, physically and mentally. What do they look like? What is their attitude like? And that’s the same for all the staff too.
"Ultimately, we want to walk out of pre-season with a fit group of players who are fresh.
“Hopefully the supporters are as excited as I am. Hopefully we’re going to see some really good football which is a little bit more on the front foot.
"We need the supporters as much as they need us and if we both turn up every week, then hopefully we’ll get more wins than losses.”