Steve Cooper | There's plenty to take from that performance
Steve Cooper felt there were plenty of positives to take from Swansea City’s defeat at Watford, but wants his side to find a clinical edge in front of goal ahead of the play-offs.
The Swans ended the league season with a 2-0 loss at Vicarage Road, but had the better of long periods of the game and the chances to emerge with a positive result.
Liam Cullen, Jamal Lowe, Wayne Routledge and Andre Ayew all had good sights of goal, and the visitors often looked fluid in their attacking build-up.
Head coach Cooper acknowledged there had been numerous parts of the display that he had liked, but just felt his side were missing that final touch in the opposition area.
“I did not think we deserved to lose, but at the same time we did not do enough to win it,” he said.
“The performance was good, we got into loads of great positions to threaten the goal and we didn’t, and they did.
“That was the difference in the result, and I have told the players I liked so many parts of the performance apart from the final bit, which is often the most important bit.
“So there is something to focus on going into the play-offs, but I am not going to be narrow-minded and ignore the fact there were a lot of good things we did.
“There were some planned changes, and it was a difficult one for the players maybe not wanting to risk getting a red card of an injury because you know the consequence.
“It was a good game, but we have to be more clinical.”
Cooper named a strong side in Hertfordshire, but elected to withdraw the likes of Ayew, captain Matt Grimes and Lowe not long after the hour mark.
And the Swans boss admitted it was with one eye on the play-off ties against Barnsley, but felt he could not rest players given the long gap they would have had between last weekend’s win over Derby and the nine days until the semi-final first leg at Oakwell a week on Monday.
“Some of the lads needed the minutes as it would have been too big a gap from last Saturday’s game to the first game against Barnsley,” said Cooper, who also revealed Ben Cabango had missed out with a groin injury.
“Once we got to a certain amount of minutes it made sense to stick to the plan and make those changes.
“It was maybe not ideal in terms of getting the result, but there is a bigger picture and, in the end, it has not impacted on our league position and who we are playing.
“As I have said before, it does not matter who you play or where you play, it doesn’t guarantee the result you want, you take it as it comes.
“Is it an advantage to be at home for the second game? We have to approach the first game right, and get the work done on the training ground and be ready for it.
“We have been to Barnsley, they deserve a lot of credit for where they are and it will be a really tough game.
“All four play-off teams are really good outfits, so we have to be ready.”