Former Swansea City midfielder Darren Pratley has suggested that the Swans got their approach wrong in the first half of their play-off final against Brentford.
Steve Cooper’s side endured a nightmare start to the play-off final at Wembley and they were 2-0 behind within the first 20 minutes of the game.
That came after Freddie Woodman had conceded a penalty which Ivan Toney tucked away. Then, the Swans were caught out on the counter-attack for the second goal as Emiliano Marcondes added the all-important second goal.
Swansea did improve after the break and even had a golden chance from Andre Ayew to get back into the game straight after the restart. However, eventually, their chances of coming back from 2-0 down were ended by Jay Fulton picking up a straight red card.
Can you name the Swansea City player who has been carded the most in each of the last 16 seasons?
Speaking to Sky Sports, Pratley suggested that Swansea got their game plan and approach wrong in the first half and they did not have the right levels of intensity to put Brentford under pressure.
He said: “Especially in the first half, I thought we were too passive, we didn’t really press well or get after them. And in possession, we went long into Lowe and Ayew and Brentford had three big centre-halves and that was food and drink for them and it was easy for them we didn’t really have a threat in behind.
“Especially in the first half, I think Steve Cooper would’ve got them in (at half time) and in the second half and they got a reaction, but we gave ourselves too much to do.”
You have to agree with Pratley’s assessment here, Swansea did not start the game anywhere near as well as they need to do against Brentford in the play-off final. The occasion perhaps got to some of their players in the opening exchanges and they were not able to either press well from the front, or contain the threats that the Bees had running in behind their defence.
Cooper’s side have been so solid for most of the campaign and they were excellent at the back in the two legs of their semi-final against Barnsley. It was therefore a major surprise to see them be caught out so often at the back in the opening half an hour or so of the game.
You can not perform like Swansea did in the first half and hope to win a Championship play-off final, and Cooper, if he does remain, will now have the summer to reflect on things that went wrong tactically on the day. The Swans will hope they can similarly recover from this setback to what Brentford have done this season after losing last year’s play-off final.