'We must do our bit'
Carlos Carvalhal has urged his players to do their bit on the final day of the season as Swansea City look to take their “tiny chance” of staying up.
The Swans manager acknowledges that the odds are stacked against his team as they look to pull off something extraordinary this weekend.
The Swans must beat Stoke City at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday and hope champions Manchester City see off 17th-placed Southampton.
Not only that, but there must be a huge swing in goal difference – Southampton’s is currently minus 18 compared to the Swans’ minus 27 – for Carvalhal’s side to avoid relegation to the Championship.
The reality is that it would take an astonishing turnaround to save the Swans from the drop.
But Carvalhal is determined to ensure his team at least deliver victory after insisting they could not have done much more since he took over at the end of December.
At his pre-match press conference ahead of the Stoke game, Carvalhal began by assessing his time in charge.
“We didn’t start the season here as you know,” he said.
“I think it’s important to compare our games and the games before we arrived.
“We reached the quarter-final of the FA Cup as you know, which was a good achievement, and in the Premier League we have had 17 games. Before we arrived, the club had played 20 league games – three more.
“Before we arrived, the team won three league games. In 17 games, we won five. Before we arrived there were four draws, after we arrived there five draws. Before we arrived there were 13 losses, with us we lost seven.
“Goals scored before were 11 in 20 games, and with us there were 16 in 17 games. Goals against before were 31 and with us there were 23. That means before the goal difference was minus 20 and with us it was minus seven.
“When we arrived we had 13 points, with us we achieved 20. The reality is that with that number since we arrived, we are in the middle of the table.
“We have one more point than Brighton, four more than Watford and West Brom, five more than Southampton, six more than Huddersfield, 10 more than Stoke since we arrived.
“It was not easy situation when we came in. We discovered some gaps in the squad and we covered them in January.
“It was very difficult for us to get players. Not because the chairman did not do the maximum and not because the investors did not do the maximum, but the reality was that players didn’t want to come to Swansea because we were last in the table and nobody believed we could jump positions.
“We got two players who wanted to come here, Andre Ayew and Andy King, and we let two players go out on loan, Roque Mesa and Oli McBurnie.
“Then, after the window closed, we lost Renato Sanches and Leroy Fer to injuries and also we lost Wilfried Bony and we could not bring the players back from loan.
“That made things difficult for us, but we never complained. We were always positive and we achieved points.
“Then, in the crucial moment of the season, we lost our main goalscorer and one of our best players effectively for four games, because Jordan Ayew was sent off right at the beginning of the game against Huddersfield.
“At the end we are not in a good position, but we have a tiny chance to stay in the Premier League and we will do our best.
“But at the end, the problem is not the 20 points we got but the 13 points we had when we arrived.
“This is not a criticism of anybody, it’s a fact. In a competition like this you must achieve points all the way through the season. Unfortunately, the beginning of the season was very bad for the club.”
Carvalhal reckons the fact that Southampton face Manchester City on the final day gives his team hope because of the firepower within Pep Guardiola’s squad.
The Swans, meantime, must end an eight-game league winless streak to give themselves any chance of surviving.
“We are breathing badly, but we are still alive so we will look to do our bit on Sunday,” he added.
“We respect Stoke City, but we will try to win. If we can win with goals then that’s better and better.
“Realistically it will be very, very difficult, but we must fight until the last minute.
“We maybe only have a 0.1 per cent chance, but we must fight for this.”