Bob Bradley doesn’t believe criticism of Swansea City’s defence has affected players

Swansea City’s defenders have come under scrutiny for the majority of the season.

Bob Bradley doesn’t believe criticism of Swansea City’s
defence has affected players
Jordi Amat and Federico Fernandez clashing with Yohan Cabaye. (Photo: Jan Krugar/Getty)

Swansea City manager Bob Bradley doesn’t believe that criticism of his defenders has affected them.

Pundits and fans alike combined to tear Swansea’s defence to shreds following the 5-4 win over Crystal Palace last week.

Only Hull City have conceded more goals than the Swans, who have let in 26 goals this season, two less than the Tigers.

Bradley says Swans haven't "followed through" on promise shown in Watford draw

When asked if criticism of his defence affected the players, Bradley said: “No. When there is a crazy match, when you look deeper set-pieces have a lot to do with it.”

The American then went into detail why Swansea conceded Palace’s second goal last week, and said that Swansea “have to make more defensive plays at set-pieces for the first and second balls.”

Swansea have conceded nine goals from set-pieces this season, while Palace have the highest tally with 13.

When asked about set-pieces, Bradley said: “I think it is a big part of us becoming a better side, keeping clean sheets and winning 1-0. We thought Watford [0-0] was a step in the right direction but we have not followed through on that.”

How can Swansea improve defensively?

Bradley has taken steps to improve the side defensively, moving Gylfi Sigurdsson to striker and having a midfield of Jack Cork, Jay Fulton and Leroy Fer will help.

Midfielders Jay Fulton and Jack Cork trying to stop Wilfried Zaha. (Photo: Jan Krugar/Getty)

In open play, Swansea have looked slightly better defensively since Bradley’s appointment but they look very suspect from set-pieces, and teams have and will continue to target that.

Perhaps Bradley thought that all 6ft 3ins of Mike van der Hoorn was the answer, and he was to an extent. 

In the five games he played, Swansea conceded four goals from set-pieces, two of those being penalties. They did concede 11 goals in total during those games though.

Jordi Amat looks like he is being targeted from set-pieces, as he has been very fragile defending them. Perhaps the answer is a partnership of Federico Fernandez and Alfie Mawson.

It’s more likely that the answer lies in a commanding centre-half being signed in January though.

Swansea's next opponents are Tottenham Hotspur, who have scored just four goals from set-pieces this season, with only three Premier League teams scoring less from them.