Swansea City now face an uphill battle in their bid to secure a Championship play-off spot this campaign following a run of form which has seen them fail to win any of their last five matches.
The South Wales side made a statement of intent by securing loan trio Rhian Brewster, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi in the January window, but there has not been any improvement to the Swans’ form in the second half of the season.
Steve Cooper’s men are currently sitting 11th in the second-tier table and five points adrift of the top six after collecting just three points from their last five matches, with their 4-4 draw against Hull on Friday night having been the latest setback.
Swansea will now know they cannot afford to drop many more points between now and the end of the season if they are still serious about sealing a top-six spot, and this should start with their clash against Huddersfield over the weekend.
Here are three mistakes the Liberty Stadium outfit cannot afford to repeat between now and the end of the term…
Chopping and changing the defensive unit
A settled defensive structure is crucial for any side chasing promotion from the Championship, and this is not something Swansea have managed to achieve in recent weeks as a result of injuries and Cooper’s bold experimentation.
Ben Cabango and Ben Wilmot had started to form a solid centre-back partnership at the beginning of the year, but both players then lost their spots in the side as Cooper opted to start new signing Guehi alongside the returning Joe Rodon.
It is now important that the Swans boss settles on his preferred centre-back duo during the final 13 matches of the season, and this may involve dropping Guehi from the side in order to restore Wilmot or Cabango as defensive regulars.
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Refraining from making substitutions
This has been one of the main sources of the criticism directed at Cooper by many Swansea fans this campaign, with the Swansea boss having sometimes refrained from making substitutions even when his side are in need of fresh ideas.
There have been a number of times this season where the Swans have looked somewhat blunt in attack, and the obvious solution to this would be for Cooper to introduce other players into the mix in order to stretch opponents.
Friday night’s match against Hull produced a clear example of how substitutions can have such a positive impact, with Jordon Garrick finding the net just minutes after replacing Bersant Celina on Swansea’s left flank.
Not being capable of seeing out matches
This has been a problem that has become particularly noticeable in recent matches with Cooper’s side having squandered leading positions against both Derby and Hull, with the Swans picking up just the one point from both these matches.
There is a risk this could develop into a serious problem unless the Swans are able to address it as soon as possible, and the more experienced figures within the squad will be key in helping to achieve a strengthened mentality at the club.
The fact Swans are able to get themselves into these leading positions offers proof there is enough attacking quality within the side, and they now just need to develop this all-important winning mentality during the season’s final run-in.