In an interview with Wales Online, Graham Potter’s trusted assistant Billy Reid believes that our aim this should be the top 6 after what he has described as something of an “inconsistent” start that sees the Swans just 2 points adrift of the play-offs in 8th place with 26 points after 17 games.
Reid also revealed that despite winning our two opening games – away at Sheffield United and at home against Preston the following week, they weren’t happy with “how we were playing” and you can clearly see the differences between now and then. We were more of a counter-attacking side early on in the season, we struggled to control games and were under the cosh against the likes of Preston, Bristol City and Nottingham Forest.
We’ve vastly improved in the last month or two though and Potter and his coaching staff are beginning to establish and implement a clear identity and playing style now. Possession has been in the 60’s and even as high as 72% in recent games, with more than 500 average passes per game.
Whilst Potter hasn’t implemented a high, intense press like Leeds and maybe Derby have, especially in the early games where were completely reluctant to press, our sudden style and switch since the defeat at Stoke City about a month ago has been quite remarkable.
There were also criticisms that we were lightweight as Birmingham City were the side who really exposed that on one Friday night but there’s no evidence of that in recent weeks. Against the likes of Wigan, Bolton, QPR and more we’ve showed great strength and competitiveness and it’s an exciting thought to wonder what we might do in 2019 if we continue to improve at this current rate.
“I know we won the first couple of games of the season but we were not happy with how we were playing,”
“We have been up and down and a bit inconsistent.
“But there seems to be a more stable element to the team, we are settled in what we are doing and we are controlling games more than we were.
Talking of our aims this season, whilst Potter has played down aiming for an instant return to the Premier League, Reid believes we should have the top 6 in our sights:
“The players have responded really well and the fans have been fantastic and stuck with a young, hungry squad and hopefully we can keep growing and be challenging for the top six all season.
“Remaining up there has got to be our aim, there are a lot of games ahead and we need a bit of luck.
“With the squad we currently have we can apply ourselves against anybody in this league and the next three games will tell us an awful lot about where we are.
He can say that again. A home double-header comes next, firstly against leaders Norwich City and then 5th-placed West Brom before a tough trip to 6th-placed Derby County.
Have the Swans got what it takes to keep up with the likes of those 3? Like Reid says, we’ll know a lot more in early December having played against those three. The Championship is more open than ever where not even the so-called ‘mighty Leeds’ can runaway with it under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa.