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Playing catch up - Interview
Monday, 24th Jan 2022 16:07 by Clive Whittingham

Ahead of the re-arranged Tuesday match with Swansea City we talk Russell Martin’s philosophy and whether multiple games in hand will translate into a push up the table for his team with Phil from Planet Swans and Keith from Swansea Independent.

How's the season been so far?

PS: Hit and miss but then again I think we always expected that. There have been some real bright spots and strong performances but at the same time some poor games and bad defeats. Given the departures from the club last season this was always going to be a season of transition and it is proving to be just that.

SI: It been up and down to be honest. Some of the performances have been superb, and in most games you can see Russell Martin’s vision for the team. There have been low points - Preston away, Bournemouth away are two good examples. Overall though there is a clear strategy which QPR fans will see for this game.

Swansea league results so far…
Blackburn 2-1 Swansea Gallagher 36, Brereton pen 48 – Paterson 52
Swansea 0-0 Sheff Utd
Swansea 1-3 Stoke Piroe 73 – Powell 15, Clucas 53, Ostigard 60
Bristol City 0-1 Swansea Piroe 19
Preston 3-1 Swansea Berd 21, Jakobsen 45, Whiteman 52 – Piroe 19
Swansea 0-0 Hull
Swansea 0-0 Millwall
Luton 3-3 Swansea Berry 7, Adebayo pen 15, 23 – Paterson 63, Ntcham 86, Piroe 90
Swansea 1-0 Huddersfield Piroe 17
Fulham 3-1 Swansea Mitrovic 12, 32, 45 – Paterson 38
Derby 0-0 Swansea
Swansea 3-0 Cardiff Paterson 29, Piroe 60, Bidwell 74
Swansea 2-1 West Brom Piroe 61, Paterson 83 – Grant 1
Birmingham 2-1 Swansea Deeney 47, McGree 82 – Obafemi 77
Swansea 3-0 Peterborough Bidwell 2, Piroe 13, Ntcham 45
Coventry 1-2 Swansea McFadzean 27 – Paterson 5, Piroe 12
Bournemouth 4-0 Swansea Solanke 26, 49, Anthony 64, 90
Swansea 1-1 Blackpool Piroe 35 – Anderson 86
Barnsley 0-2 Swansea Ntcham 74, Paterson 79
Swansea 2-3 Reading Paterson 3, Manning 49 – Dele-Bashiru 4, Carroll 30, Drinkwater 50
Middlesbrough 1-0 Swansea Jones 26
Swansea 1-4 Forest Piroe 62 – Zinckernagel 48, Grabban 50, Johnson 68, Cafu 90
Huddersfield 1-1 Swansea Sinani 15 – Downes 78
Swansea 1-0 Preston Manning 51

Russell Martin, big on the process and the project, how's it gone for him so far?

PS: As said above, hit and miss is the answer. It is always difficult for a manager coming in to change things and it is fair to say that he hasn’t had all the personnel he needs to play the game the way he wants. he signs at times though are good and it is fair to say that he is bringing in some good players which over time will benefit us as the style adapts and the squad gets better

SI: Russell Martin sticks ruthlessly to his guns on possession and high risk passing from the back. The teams that press Swansea, when they do this they sometimes get results, however when it fails they leave wide open spaces in midfield which the Swans can take advantage of. The main issue for teams facing the Swans is getting the ball back when they are in possession. The frustrating side of Martin’s tactics is that possession and movement can be slow, that’s more seen to not having the right personnel available to implement his vision.

What's the current situation with the finances and American owners - saw they were coming in for bit of grief, how's the mood?

PS: Nothing changes there. Most of them are very distant from the club and aren’t seemingly overly keen to stand us up with finances. We are being operated the way we probably all believe is right in keeping it sustainable and not getting heavily into debt (to owners or otherwise) but that makes a big challenge every season.

SI: Owners always come in for stick, just look at Everton and Newcastle, never a more ill-thought-out protest than Everton’s on Saturday. It looked sad. No solutions, just demands after hundreds of millions have been spent. In Swansea’s case a lot of supporters do see a solvent club, a well-run club and no desire to have any real debt. Expenditure on players has been more than usual, Joel Piroe and Flynn Downes around £1.5m each. The loan of Hannes Wolf from Borussia Mönchengladbach isn’t cheap, nor Cyrus Christie from Fulham. The noisy minority who always surface at any club from what I can see aren’t that quick on the uptake when information is presented to them. Overall it’s a half decent situation between the club and fans. About as much as we can expect after the relegation from the Premier League.

What's going on with Jamie Paterson, seemed to be great first half of the season and now bombed out and getting linked with half the Champ?

PS: Basically his agent appears to have filled his head with nonsense and now he doesn’t know which way to turn. Martin gave him a chance when he seemed to have run out of them but now he has had a good half season then the agent is looking as if he may be trying to force a move away. Not sure that is the right thing for the player. I firmly believe Martin wants him to stay but he hasn’t done himself any favours with the fans this past week.

SI: What Paterson fails to see or realise is that he was on his backside and without a club when Russell Martin offered him a lifeline. He was happy to sign and accept the terms of his nigh on 30k a month contract in August. Now with the extension being triggered by the club he has a problem. It’s not as if it wasn’t in his contract at the start. We seem to be dealing with a player who doesn’t see the damage he has done to his reputation at Swansea and also with other clubs. WBA soon lost interest after he didn't play against Huddersfield last week. It is clear there will be interested clubs, and if they have the cash they can have him. He is currently training with the under 23’s and has been fined. His agent hasn't helped him as Russell Martin pointed out last week. As we said before intelligence levels in some cases aren’t always the best. It’s unlikely he will appear on Tuesday, and some Swans fans wouldn’t mind if they didn't see him again. His season has been decent, but most people only see the highlights. He really hasn't performed since early November. Cash in we say, make him someone else’s problem.

Any other January moves? What do you make of the new German arrival?

PS: Andy Fisher, Cyrus Christie and Hannes Wolf have all arrived – Bidwell has gone to Coventry, Whittaker and Cullen on loan to Lincoln and I suspect there is more to come. Probably loans unless we can move some more on – Jay Fulton and Yan Dhanda are top of the “move on” list at the moment. We’ve only seen 45 minutes of Wolf against Preston but there are good signs. It’s certainly one of those signings you don’t expect to make and I just hope he fits the bill better than our last “high profile” loan signing from Germany. Whatever happened to Renato Sanches…

SI: Hannes Wolf had a half of football on Saturday, he looked strong and determined. No way is he near match fitness. This is his chance to reinvigorate his career, he was a huge signing for BMG at more than £10m. We actually have a few very good sources who told us about the arrival of Wolf much to the disdain of certain Swansea supporters who want everything on a plate no matter the consequences for our sources. Of course that won’t happen, and of course the response is always lies, lies, lies! Then he arrived after a process he had to go through in France. We hinted at that on Twitter, but again it was reliant upon the person reading it to have their head on straight. When he came in many were happy, but couldn’t let go of the fact he wasn't French. It was hilarious to see a handful of people go in to a meltdown, then Hannes Wolf stated he had been in France and have a guess what? Apologies, any responses ? Nothing, nada, so sad is Twitter. A fool’s paradise. Any new signings? Most certainly.

Summer Ins >>> Joel Piroe, 21, CF, Eindhoven, £1.8m >>> Michael Obafemi, 21, CF, Southampton, £1.8m >>> Flynn Downes, 22, CM, Ipswich, £1.5m >>> Kyle Joseph, 19, CF, Wigan, Undisclosed >>> Liam Walsh, 23, CM, Bristol City, Free >>> Oliver Ntcham, 25, CM, Celtic, Free >>> Jamie Paterson, 29, AM, Bristol City, Free >>> Rhys Williams, 20, CB, Liverpool, Loan >>> Ethan Laird, 20, RB, Man Utd, Loan

Summer Outs >>> Connor Roberts, 25, RB, Burnley, £2.5m >>> Jamal Lowe, 27, RW, Bournemouth, £1.5m >>> George Byers, 25, CM, Sheff Wed, Free >>> Andre Ayew, 31, CF, Al-Asad, Free >>> Declan John, 26, LB, Bolton, Free >>> Kieron Freeman, 29, RB, Portsmouth, Free >>> Barrie McKay, 26, RW, Released >>> Jordon Garrick, 23, RW, Plymouth, Loan >>> Josh Gould, 24, GK, Ebsfleet, Loan >>> Kyle Joseph, 19, CF, Cheltenham, Loan >>> Wayne Routledge, 36, RW, Retired

Winter Ins: >>> Andy Fisher, 23, GK, MK Dons, Undisclosed >>> Hannes Wolf, 22, AM, Borussia Monchengladbach, Loan >>> Cyrus Christie, 29, RB, Fulham, Loan

Winter Outs: >>> Jake Bidwell, 28, LB, Coventry, Free >>> Morgan Whittaker, 20, RW, Lincoln, Loan >>> Liam Cullen, 22, CF, Lincoln, Loan >>> Steven Benda, 23, GK, Peterborough, Loan

Player of the season candidates and weak links in the team?

PS: A few candidates here I think (player of the season) - Joel Piroe for his goals is a clear one, Ryan Manning and Kyle Naughton have proven to be more than dependable at the back and Flynn Downes in midfield was an excellent signing. On weak links, Ryan Bennett seems to be finding it tougher with every game he plays

SI: Weak links I would say ‘can’ be the keeper Ben Hamer, although we have signed Andy Fisher from MK Dons. We get very sleepy after scoring a goal, and that’s been an issue for a few games before last week. It’s best for us to go one down and chase the game at times. We look far more dangerous than defending a lead.

Revised expectations for the season?

PS: Mid table. But with sufficient form come the end of the season to suggest we could push on towards play offs or more next season

SI: Play offs still should be a goal. We have a lot of games in hand on a lot of sides above us, just got to win them eh?

Links >>> Official Website >>> Planet Swans – Blog and Forum >>> Swansea Independent - Forum >>> Wales Online – Local Paper >>> The Jack Army – Forum >>> SOS - Fanzine

The Twitter @loftforwords, @swansea_indy, @swansnews

Pictures – Action Images

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TacticalR added 15:07 - Jan 25
Thanks to Phil and Keith.

Things sound up in the air at Swansea. I get the feeling that they have lost the identity that came from the passing style that got them up the leagues, although it sounds like Martin is into possession football.

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