Belfast Telegraph

We've been easy to play against, admits Swansea boss Bob Bradley

Bob Bradley has accepted Gary Lineker's criticism of Swansea as they attempt to silence a Christmas Carroll.

Match of the Day host Lineker suggested a home game against Swansea was the fixture every Premier League club wanted after Bradley's side surrendered timidly in a 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough.

Swansea are back on home soil for their next two games - against West Ham on Boxing Day and Bournemouth on New Year's Eve - but under-fire boss Bradley did not hide from accusations that his relegation battlers are too soft to survive.

"I think there are days that is true, in some games we have not had a hard enough edge," Bradley said.

"So I agree with that. Our ability to compete, win duels, they tip the scale and are things we have looked at.

"There have been some games when we weren't easy to play against, such as the first half at West Brom.

"But when you give up a goal from a set-piece just after half-time the game changes, and we did not manage to stick in the game.

"It's about concentration and realising you have got to just hang in there.

"You cannot let your guard down for a moment and that part has to improve, that is the reason we have been so inconsistent."

Swansea will certainly not be able to relax against a familiar foe on Boxing Day, with England striker Andy Carroll expected to lead the Hammers' attack.

The game marks the Liberty Stadium return of Andre Ayew, who finished as Swansea's top scorer last season before joining West Ham for £20.5million in August.

But it is Carroll who perhaps Swansea have to be most wary about given the 27-year-old's record against them.

Carroll has scored as many goals against Swansea as he has any other club in his career, with five in eight games.

"He (Carroll) likes to drift to the back post, so we have to do a good job and make sure our central defenders are aware of that," Bradley said.

"We don't want to put that on the full-backs, we have to get it right because that is a big part of their game.

"Carroll gives them a different threat, (Dimitri) Payet runs the game and is a threat from free-kicks."

Swansea are only above bottom-placed Hull on goal difference and Bradley has been in the firing line of supporters underwhelmed by his October appointment in the first place.

The former United States manager has only been in charge of 10 matches, but admits his future might depend on the West Ham and Bournemouth games.

Swansea have lost six times under Bradley, but the American takes comfort from the fact he has won two and drawn one of his four home games.

"Overall there is frustration among the fans - and that's fair enough," Bradley said.

"But we are pleased with the home form in the last two matches, especially against teams in our part of the table.

"Those were good results and we hope we can build on that over the Christmas period."


From Belfast Telegraph