After yesterday’s confirmation that Graham Potter will become our new manager, we got in touch with @SwedeStats to get more of an insight into the man who has delivered 7 years of success at Ostersund.
So who is @SwedeStats?
“I’m from Luleå (even higher up North than Östersund) and supports IFK Luleå. But I try to follow the teams from the Northern parts of Sweden, GIF Sundsvall is another (hometown of Emil Forsberg).”
1. Firstly, what do you make of Potter’s move to Swansea City? Do you think it’s a good fit? And is it a case of ‘about time’ in terms of attracting another opportunity elsewhere?
I think it’s a brilliant move for both Graham Potter and the club. He has built something special at Östersund and has created a footballing culture in a city where there was none.
Graham Potter is good enough to take over a top club in any of the top five leagues. People could just take a look what he did in Europa League with one of the clubs with least money. Impressive to say the least.
2. Potter’s success over 7 years at Ostersund really has been incredible. It’s difficult for any manager to achieve success over a number of years, but somehow Potter has managed it. What would you say has been the key things under that success?
One of the main things is how good he is with his players. He has this ability to connect with players and get the best out of them.
I mean, if you take a look at the players at Östersund, most of them are players that weren’t “good enough” in other clubs or they are bought from lower league clubs.
I want to compare him to Pep Guardiola in that regard. He has the ability to get out the most of the players he has in the team.
3. What can Swansea City fans expect from Potter next season?
It’s difficult to answer. He needs time to settle in at the club and get them to play the way he wants. The Championship might also be one of the most competitive leagues in Europe, so he has a lot to sort out at the club.
4. Swansea will suffer losing a number of key players over the Summer and Potter will have to oversee a lot of changes to the squad. I imagine that he’ll be able to cope with this having re-built Ostersund in the bottom division many years ago?
The main thing I think it’s getting along with the board. I don’t know that much about Swansea, but what I’ve heard they might be a problem.
At Östersund he had Daniel Kindberg who is pretty out there with the media but he stood by Graham Potter. If the board backs him and lets him build what he wants it should be good.
5. Swansea City fans have been bored and tired for too long now with defensive football and a negative mindset going into games. We’ve been a side who thinks too much about the opposition and not enough about ourselves. How does Potter approach the bigger games? Does he have the tendency to instruct his teams to sit back against the better sides or who does he believe in his system?
It really depends. If you take a look when Östersund played in Europe against big clubs they played a more defensive game. But they had the ability to control games. It’s hard to say how he wants to play with Swansea.
But it wouldn’t be surprising if he tried to control games like Swansea did when they got promoted.
6. Another frustration amongst Swansea fans is our refusal to give our younger players a chance in the first-team. Is this something that you’d expect from Potter?
He really didn’t have that ability at Östersund since they were such a small club. The main thing here was to pick up players from the lower divisions or players that were “not good enough” at other clubs and take them to another level. Swansea is something else.
7. Swansea’s problems over the last few seasons has been about (poor) player recruitment, no thanks to a chairman who takes too much control over the buying of players. I imagine that Potter was hands on in buying the players at Ostersunds? I can’t imagine he’d be happy to sit back and have less control over transfers at Swansea?
Graham Potter was pretty much the main man together with Daniel Kindberg to pick up players. And they did something special in Sweden.
As I have mentioned before, they have picked up random players from lower divisions and made them top players. The main question mark here is how the board is going to go about it. I really don’t know if Graham Potter would have signed for Swansea if he didn’t get a little bit of control with signings.
8. What would you say are his main strengths and weaknesses ahead of his first season as a manager in the EFL Championship?
I really believe that he’s one of the most intelligent managers in England at the moment, Premier League included. The guy thinks different from the usual managers.
The guy has a Masters degree in Emotional Intelligence and has set up this cultural thing in Östersund where the players have to perform for the people in the city.
It’s hard to say about his weakness, but it might be that the trust from the board. If he doesn’t get time to both settle in and learn to know the team it won’t work brilliantly for Swansea.
9. Does Potter have a preferred system/formation, or has he been quite flexible with systems and tactics during his years in Sweden?
His main formation has been a something of a 3-5-2 or something in that style. They usually have a front three of Ghoddos, Gero and Sema. And behind them two central midfielders, two wingbacks and three CBs.
10. Are there popular qualities in a footballer that Potter looks for when signing players? Is it true that he likes his players to be tactically flexible and able to play in multiple positions?
At Swansea, his whole transfer plan is probably different. At Östersund they had to sign players from lower division because the money wasn’t there. At Swansea, he will have a bunch of money and a club that has a pretty decent reputation in England.
11. I also read that Potter likes to change systems multiple times during a game, and he has been praised for coaching his players to understand these changes. Is this common practise or something he does just now and again?
The system changes with the players he has at the club. He’s very flexible with his tactics.
12. How long did it take Potter to inspire improvement in performances and results at Ostersunds? Did it take some time or was he able to make a difference early on?
Since 2011 when Graham Potter took over Östersund, the club always took a step forward when it comes to the table.
- 2011: Division 2 – 1st place (promoted) 2012: Division 1 – 1st place (promoted)
- 2013: Superettan – 10th place
- 2014: Superettan – 5th place
- 2015: Superettan – 22nd place (promoted)
- 2016: Allsvenskan – 8th place (Swedish Cup Winners)
- 2017: Allsvenskan – 5th place (Out to Arsenal in Europa League playoffs)
He made a difference at the club.
13. And lastly, what do you predict from Potter’s Swansea next season? It’s a challenging and very competitive League after all…
If the board at the club helps him I believe that he can get Swansea promoted. Without a doubt.
Giving Graham Potter time and a chance to implement his own methods seems to be a common reaction to the news of his managerial appointment at Swansea City. The concern that the board won’t give him the freedom to sign his own players is a fair one, having been over-controlling on those matters for far too long. Judging from his time in Sweden, Potter could do wonders here if he’s left alone to re-build us.