Smooth Swans transition for new boss Cooper – Interview
Tuesday, 20th Aug 2019 07:02 by Clive Whittingham
Swansea lost manager Graham Potter, winger Dan James and striker Tartan McPartick over the summer, but it’s been a promising start to the season regardless according to Phil from our sister site Planet Swans.
How would you assess Swansea’s first season back in the Championship?
It was a season that probably exceeded expectations. Relegation from the Premier League came with the usual consequences beyond the massive drop in revenue. Players were still on high contracts and everyone knows you are a selling club at that point so it becomes the buyers’ market where they can determine the prices and players seem to go for less than market value in an attempt to get them off the books. With so many departures and so much reliance on players from our academy being in sight of a play-off place right to the last couple of weeks of the season was a really strong achievement.
How much of a blow was losing Graham Potter over the summer?
Based on the above, a big one. There was a real feeling at the end of last season that we had started to produce the results needed to build this year and with another pre-season working with the academy players with the chance to bring in a couple of new faces we started to believe we could push on. But the Premier League is the lure for many and whilst maybe I was surprised he was went it is difficult to blame a manager for wanting to take that step.
What have you made of his replacement so far? What has he changed?
Steve Cooper has come in and not changed a massive amount but we are looking a good team still. We have a similar style which has continued the philosophy that we have used more often than not over the past 15 years. It is early days on his signings as you would expect but I’m as optimistic now as I was at the end of last season that we can have a good season this year. I think one of the key elements is when you think we have won all three games at home (including the League Cup) but have been behind in all three games which is showing maybe extra resilience that has been lacking so often in the past.
How did the summer transfer window go?
Overall it could have been much worse. Losing McBurnie was always likely but we did get a good deal for him and Dan James was always destined for better things and nobody begrudges people a move to Man Utd. We have made what look astute signings inwards which is a good change and we still have a couple of the Premier League high earners on the book who we now look likely to keep. Overall I think it was a decent window as pre-season and early season tends to back up.
Ins: >>> Kristoffer Petersen, LW, Heracles, £495k >>> Jake Bidwell, LB, QPR, Free >>> Ben Wilmot, CB, Watford, Loan >>>
Outs: Tartan McPartick, CF, Sheff Utd, £17m >>> Daniel James, LW, Man Utd, £15m >>> Jordan Ayew, Alleged CF, Palace, £2.5m >>> Leroy Fer, CM, Feyenoord, Free >>> Luciano Narsingh, RW, Feyenoord, Free >>> Adam King, CM, Dundee Utd, Free >>> Jefferson Montero, RW, Birmingham, Loan >>> Joel Asoro, CF, Groningen, Loan >>> Wilfried Bony, CF, Released >>> Martin Olson, LB, Released >>> Botti Biabi, CF, Released
What have you made of the first few games of the new season?
How’s Jake Bidwell started?
He’s settling in. If you take the first half against Preston then he looked shaky but in fairness so did the team. We have always used our fullbacks a lot to add to our attacks and he seems to fit this mould and as he becomes more used to the other personnel around him I do think he will get better.
Stand out players and weak links in this side?
We have some very good players but based on early performances I am becoming a big fan of George Byers in our midfield. I think he adds much to it and certainly seems to create the space for others around him. Up front we have a really strong forward line at the moment and whilst I am sure the accountants would like to take them off the wage bill whilst we have them then we can let them cause havoc in this division. Oh and Bersant Celina is a class act.
Expectations for the season ahead?
Win the Championship and reach the FA Cup final. More realistically I do think we can push strongly for the play-offs if we can remain as injury free as possible. We don’t maybe have the strength in depth of some of the other fancied teams and this could be a hindrance if we lose key players. I know that sounds a cliché but for us I think it rings true more than it does for others.
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