Steve Cooper satisfied as he praises players for rising to Championship challenge
Head coach Steve Cooper declared himself satisfied with Swansea City securing a play-off berth with a 2-2 draw at Reading, and applauded the efforts of his squad in again competing at the top of the Championship.
For the second season running the Swans booked a top-six finish at the Madejski Stadium, although it came in less nerve-shredding fashion than had been the case on a dramatic night in July of last year.
The visitors had come from behind the lead as goals from Jamal Lowe and Andre Ayew followed Yakou Meite’s opener for the Royals – who had to win to keep their own play-off hopes alive.
The home side would level matters in stoppage time through Tomas Esteves, but it was not enough to prevent Swansea getting the point they needed to secure a top-six place in Cooper’s 100th game at the helm.
It means the Swans boss has secured a play-off spot in each of his two seasons in charge, but he wants his side to make sure they kick-on and make the most of the chance they have given themselves.
But he was quick to point out the scale of what his players have managed to do in a division filled with some clubs with greater resources, and so many with aspirations for promotion.
“If you look at the game, there was not much between the teams in the first half,” said Cooper.
“They got the lead and the message at half-time was to keep going, because I felt we were playing well.
“But we wanted to be a bit more positive with our play and passing forward, and our positional play.
“We did that and scored two good goals and I felt we were the more threatening team.
“We knew it would be crazy at the end as they had to win, they had four or five attacking players on the pitch, and you just wanted to make sure we got that point.
“We wanted to win, but if there is ever a game to accept a draw, then this is maybe the one.
“We are happy to be in there in the play-offs, we are satisfied, but we want more than we had last season.
“This club has had big moments, it has been in the Premier League, it has won a major honour and played in Europe, so I don’t want our ambition as a club to be that getting in the play-offs is an achievement.
“But at the same time, in the current world a lot of teams invest a lot of money in this league and unfortunately we have not been able to do that over my two years here.
“So, to think we still compete at the right end of the table is all credit to the players, we might not have a massive squad, and we might not have lots of strength and depth.
“But when it comes to spirit and style, and pride to play for a football club, we have those in abundance.”