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Cardiff City 2 v 0 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 16th September 2023 Kick-off 19:45
Michael Duff : The loneliness of the long distance manager
Sunday, 17th Sep 2023 08:00 by Keith Haynes

Michael Duff looked a slightly lost man post match after witnessing his side produce next to very little to even give a glimmer of hope that last nights derby game could be won. Heading home to Cheltenham as opposed to Swansea he would most certainly be lost in his thoughts on that drive home last night.

It’s already been said in numerous quarters that out of the six games we have witnessed from Swansea City this championship season the defeat in Cardiff was by far the worst. Swansea fans are used to seeing their team take to the pitch against their rivals ‘ to win’ the game. In the previous four matches under Russell Martin twelve goals were scored and four victories were recorded. A style of play which the Swans support identified with and was evident for all to see. Sometimes it was maligned when it went wrong, but in the derby Russell Martin always got it right.

Last night Michael Duff at no point set his side up to win this game. He set it up to not lose.

It just seems he is yet to commit to the city and the west Wales way of life, it’s a giant step for sure but being a manger who commutes rather than living in the area he is employed in isn’t always a good idea. There is most certainly yet to be any form of bind between Michael and the Jack army overall, okay, six games without a win doesn’t help but there seems to be something missing ? It may well be that’s a topic for another time, and better writers than I will no doubt explain it far more eloquently, but I’m feeling an emptynes already in this latest Swans appointment.

After the game Duff received a real scalding reception from the two thousand travelling Swans fans. They were not at all happy. However, post match Michael Duff though seemed content that he was heading in the right direction with his ideas for the club. "Lots of staff have left," he said. "Lots have players have come in. New coaching staff. So, I'll just stick to what I believe in and my values. I won't come off script on that. We're trying to change the way they play because last year was extreme in terms of the way they wanted to play. I don't think this is the first time we'd been on a difficult run because I think we went through this last year when I wasn't in the building. It's about sticking to task."

Yes, for a head coach to stick to their principles and stay with the ‘programme’ is commendable. However, it has to be seen to be working. Ex Swansea Captain Ashley Williams said of the Swans performance, “ I didn’t see what Swansea were trying to do, I couldn’t work out what the game plan was, there seemed to be no identity or plan. It was just nothing ”

Couldn’t agree more, but unfortunately Michael Duff would disagree, "I'll get my head down and stick to my values. I won't come off from what I believe in. I'm not naive enough to forget it's a win business. I've been in it for thirty years. I believe in what I do. I'm not here to talk about other people and other teams and things like that. I believe in the way I want it to look and whether you get the time or whether you don't, I'll just keep working because that's what I believe in “ There is an increasing call for the Swans manager to be relieved of his duties, that may well be an overeaction, but you can understand the frustrations from the Swansea faithful. After a whole day given up with draconian travel measures from early afternoon until midnight, and that was just the fans who come from the city, others had hours either side of that added to their day, there was a lot of anger.

Personally I agree that there needs to be some form of composure now before the season looks lost before the month of September ends. Michael Duff does need more time to establish his style of play on this Swansea side, but his time will quickly run out if by next Saturday evening there are still no wins on the board. At least he agrees with that, "It's part of the job. I don't like getting beat. I'm not stupid. I'm not naïve. I'm sure there'll be a vent at me today. But I've been here before. This is where you see the true characters at the club. The ones that stick together. The ones that don't blame everyone else. The ones that don't whisper in the corridors. I've been here before. There's been a lot of change at the football club and that's not me hiding behind it”

Michael Duff needs a win, and he needs one quickly. The Swans travel to west London on Tuesday for an away fixture at Loftus Road the home of Queens Park Rangers. That isn’t a must win but it’s a must not lose, that’s when tactics like we saw against Cardiff City are best employed. Not in a derby game that the Swans faithful are very much used to winning in style over the years. Hopefully the relatively new Swans boss has learned some more about himself after last nights game. I say that as he sounds to me like a man who has stopped learning, someone who believes he has little or nothing else left to be educated on in the field of football. Excuse the pun. Yes, he must stick to what he knows and he has previous experience of as a head coach, but there needs to be a bit more humility in defeat and a bit more learning and development, not just in his players but in himself as well.

We move on.

Photographs Open Source

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Ice_Tea added 07:26 - Sep 18
Goal scorers are the most prized possessions in football. We sold ours, who scored twice for Leeds yesterday. Matches three, goals three.

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