Swans’ Home Fires Are Just Not Burning, Admits Boss Steve Cooper

Run for it!

Steve Cooper insists Swansea City have no home hang-ups, even though four of their last six matches at the Liberty Stadium have ended in defeat.

The Swans manager watched his team lose 1-0 to Millwall – a result that continues their dreadful showings after breaks for the international game and dropped them to sixth in the Championship table.

Cooper’s team enjoyed a freewheeling start to their campaign, but they have now taken only four points from a possible 18 in their last six games at the Liberty Stadium.

Cooper admitted: “We certainly fell short, that’s for sure. We always look at ourselves first and foremost, and we all know we were not at the level today in any area of the pitch.

“It’s difficult to pay too much attention to form because this league is so indifferent week in and week out.

“But it’s not a good return, those four losses. We know that, but I don’t think it’s about momentum or there being any added pressure. We just did not play well.

“When we did have moments we did not capitalise on them, and we have conceded a disappointing goal. So, lots of things accumulated into it being a poor performance.

“We have got to be good at dealing with what comes our way and we work to make sure we have solutions. They put a lot of bodies around their box, but we have good enough players to play through and around that, but we did not do that.

“If you do not do that you will not create chances and score goals.”

Gary  Rowett continued his revival of a previously ailing Millwall side with his third victory in four matches since taking over as manager, courtesy of a magnificent free-kick by Jed Wallace.

Wallace curled a delicious shot over and around a defensive wall in the 63rd minute to give Millwall a deserved first away win of the season.

Rowett said: “It was a really nice way to end the run of games [without an away win]. The players were conscious of it and needed to do something about it.

“We created the best chances of the match and I thought we were relatively comfortable in terms of Swansea’s chances.”

Cooper must feel ambivalent toward Wales’ success in qualifying for the finals of next summer’s European Championships.

The former England U19 manager had spoken in the week of the pride his club took in the accomplishments of his defensive pair Connor Roberts and Joe Rodon, yet centre-back Rodon is still out with an ankle injury made worse while on international duty and full-back Roberts was left on the substitutes’ bench four days after Wales’ clinching victory over Hungary.

Perhaps in leaving the full-back out, Cooper was mindful of his club’s two immediate results earlier in the season that had followed international breaks. They had lost their unbeaten record to Nottingham Forest in September and then drew with lowly Barnsley in October.

The hangover problems continued here in the first-half where Swansea were ponderous in possession and careless in allowing Milwall to find plenty of space around and behind the home defence.

There was an early warning from the visitors when striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson rose unchallenged to head wide in the seventh minute.

Even when Swansea found some attacking rhythm, they were vulnerable to the counter-attack. Andre Ayew forced Bartosz Bialkowski into a fine save, but Millwall’s response was a rapid surge upfield which ended with Ben Wilmot blocking a goal-bound shot from Connor Mahoney.

Mahoney and the impressive Jed Wallace continued to find holes in the home defence and both might have scored before the break had they shown more composure.

Millwall’s resolute defending continued to thwart Swansea in the second period, whilst their ability look dangerous when they broke earned reward just past the hour.

A long ball caught out Swansea’s Mike van der Hoorn and he was lucky to escape with only a yellow card  after pulling down Wallace.

The midfielder dusted himself down and then struck a superb free-kick past Freddie Woodman for his seventh goal of the season and fifth in seven games.

Millwall might have had a penalty late on when substitute Jiri Skalek was held back by George Byers, but Swansea’s increasing desperation in attack meant a second goal for the visitors was not required.

The post Swans’ Home Fires Are Just Not Burning, Admits Boss Steve Cooper appeared first on Dai Sport.

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Graham is a well known sports writer in Wales. He shares with the Eye stories on his other blog at http://www.dai-sport.com