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Swansea City 2 v 1 Blackburn Rovers
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Saturday, 2nd March 2024 Kick-off 15:00
Swansea City : It’s time to learn and progress
Thursday, 29th Feb 2024 08:58 by Andrew Winfield

Those turbulent sea’s this new year, apart from the North Sea upon Hull have eased somewhat. Now a tribe from Blackburn visit these shores fresh from a beating from the North Easterlies at dogger and fisher. If there is a guide (no, not him) of the sea’s he must fair weather us this Saturday, the effort has to be sensational.


Last Saturday was Luke Williams' tenth game in charge. It’s been quite a roller coaster for the Swans and fans since he took up the reins on 5 January. The punishing run against the top Championship teams proved to be as difficult and depressing as many feared. Games against Southampton, Bournemouth, Leicester, and Leeds saw a shed full of goals conceded, with the Swans lacking guile, confidence, and conviction and the defence torn to shreds by opposition players racing onto through balls played against our high line.

However, there were encouraging glimpses of quality and character against Plymouth, Hull, and Ipswich. This was followed by some of the season's best football during the first half last Saturday against Sunderland. These performances suggest that there are very good reasons why, sustaining this level for the remainder of the season, we should be safe from relegation.

Several factors have come into play. First, the coach and his staff have added urgency and aggression to the team’s play. This has been exemplified by Joe Allen (below)who has harried the opposition relentlessly and added snap in the midfield. This was evident in how he seized on the interception, leading to the second goal. He ran quickly and aggressively to intercept and looked up to make the perfect pass to Ronald.

The rest of the team pressed more quickly and with more commitment than we’ve seen all season, and that made it difficult for Sunderland to play out from the back, where, on several occasions, they lost possession. We haven’t seen this in the Swans’ play for a while, and as Williams said in the post-match interview, he wants this to be a feature of the team in the future.

The pace that the team has been crying out for is now in place.

The team has a new dimension with Ronald (Pereira Martins) and Przemyslaw Placheta. This can provide an outlet when playing out from the back and offers significant attacking options that will pull opposition defences wide and open up space for our forwards and advanced midfielders. This should lead to a change in the overall style of play and to a revitalised role for Matt Grimes, reducing the dependency on him as an outlet. In addition, we have extra goal-scoring capacity in Ronald (and hopefully in Placheta). Ronald showed excellent quality in scoring last Saturday, and the way he took the second was superb.

The remaining twelve games should see us claw our way further away from relegation and allow Williams to assess his squad ready for the summer transfer window. He has already said that this is his intention when asked about players close to being out of contract and that they will be playing for contract extensions. The issue of contract extensions has been covered a lot in Swansea Independent. The club needs to manage this as the number affected is significant, even more so when loans are included. This assessment will be vital for the Swans to commit to Williams’ playing style and for the recruitment team to fully understand it to inform summer recruitment.

Much has also been said about contract extensions for Joe Allen and Kyle Naughton. Both have played very well in recent games and are model professionals who add experience and guidance to a young squad. If both can be assessed as fit enough for next season, I hope extensions can be agreed upon. Salary costs would need to reflect their age, fitness, and the estimated number of games they’ll play.

This discussion brought to mind the old Liverpool Boot Room. Established by Bill Shankly, it was a place where the Liverpool coaching staff would informally meet to discuss the team, tactics, and ways of playing against the next opposing side. It also produced great future Liverpool managers such as Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan. (Below)

It was also seen as a means to recruit managers from within the club who understood the club, its football ethos, and the city. That approach has virtually disappeared from the British game, with high manager/coach turnover and the risks associated with recruiting replacements who understand the club’s unique qualities. Would a Boot Room model be something that would work for the Swans? Our club prides itself on doing things differently, and our ethos is to play with some style with the ball on the ground, passed to feet.

Could Allen and Naughton be supported to gain their coaching badges while seeing out their playing career to bring them into the Swans’ coaching team and, if they are temperamentally suited, as possible future head coaches ?

Swansea City v Blackburn Rovers kicks off at 3pm this Saturday at the Swansea.Com Stadium.

Andrew Winfield is one of our prized writers for Swansea Independent and his efforts to support this website is something we will always be extremely grateful for.

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sw02sea added 10:18 - Feb 29
All I’ll say as far as Joe Allen and Kyle Naughton are concerned is, injuries seem to come more frequently, and take longer to recover from, when you’re older.
We seem to have more coaches than National express, so can we afford to take a chance on
Paying them while they learn how to manage/ coach, while taking a chance of them not incurring more injuries ?

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