Time to get points from performances
SWANSEA City manager Graham Potter wants his side to start turning encouraging performances into points away from home as they head to Bolton today.
The Swans sit ninth in the Championship table but could easily be higher having spurned chances to take points from a handful of recent games.
Their defeat at Rotherham was a case in point, where a dominant display ended in defeat as two late penalties sunk Potter’s men in South Yorkshire.
Swansea could also have had more from games at Stoke, Wigan and Aston Villa.
They have two wins from eight away games, the last of those coming on the opening weekend of September with the memorable 10-man triumph at Millwall.
Potter, 43, admits his side were ahead of his expectations with the manner of their display last weekend, pointing to their relative inexperience as individuals and a collective.
But he acknowledges they need to start ensuring their efforts result in them adding to their tally in a fiendishly tight Championship table as they face a Bolton side with one win in 12 and just two goals to their name in nine games. “I think you have to look at where we are coming from,” he said when asked to assess Swansea’s away record.
“We have had games away from home where I have come in afterwards and said we were lucky to get away with that one.
“There will be stages where we play well and don’t get anything.
“But in terms of the team that started at Rotherham you can go through it. The goalkeeper has not played a lot, although Mike van der Hoorn and Kyle Naughton did.
“Joe Rodon was on loan at Cheltenham last season and did not play all the time, Matt Grimes was at Northampton in League One. Leroy Fer has not played much, Jay Fulton did not get many games at Wigan. Dan James was sent back from a loan spell at Shrewsbury, Oli Mcburnie was at Barnsley. Bersant Celina had about 20 games at Ipswich.
“So that is we are where we are, and it means we have to focus on how we improve.
“In that respect last week was a big learning point for us. I will be honest and say I did not think we could get to that level of performance at this stage, where we have control of a Championship game and they do not create a single chance.
“There are things we are moving towards so in terms of assessment of away form we need to improve, at least in terms of results.”
But Potter added that the painful manner of the defeat at Rotherham – while being an experience no-one in Swansea colours wanted to go through – will prove a pointed learning experience for his side.
“We are in this position where we all want to win. The supporters want to win, the players want to win and I want to win, but to improve you have to have some pain much as we don’t like it and it hurts,” he added.
“That’s no different in life, when you first try to walk or run, you fall down. You get back up and try again until you get it right and work things out. You have to learn those lessons.”
Among the other lessons Swansea have had to learn has been the physicality of a division where refereeing is of a more lenient manner than what the club had become used to in the top flight.
James and Celina came in for particular attention at Rotherham, while the Kosovo international was injured by a poor tackle against Nottingham Forest.
Potter admits he has had to adjust himself after seven years in Sweden, but insists he and his players will simply get on with the task at hand.
“I have come in after being in a different country for the last seven years and some of the tackles I have seen in the Championship would be yellow or red cards in Europe, if I am being honest,” he said.
“But that’s what makes British football what it is and makes it unique, and I don’t want to be sat here saying a referee’s job is to protect players and their careers.
“You want that competitiveness, that commitment and passion.
“But, the safety of the players is very important and I think speaking to people who are adapting to how games are refereed in the Championship after the Premier League there is probably a difference. But that is part of what we have to deal with.
“We are not one of those who want to bleat and moan about things, it is what it is and we know where we are at.
“We have to use the ball quicker and be brighter in anticipating tackles and then hope the referee makes sure any challenges are legal. Then there are no complaints.”
The Swans could have taken more from their trip to Wigan.