Swansea City striker Liam Cullen has insisted the speculation surrounding manager Steve Cooper’s future is not affecting their preparations ahead of next season, in an extended interview with the BBC.
The 41-year-old has been linked with moves to Crystal Palace and Fulham this summer after guiding the Swans to two consecutive play-off campaigns, losing out to Brentford in the semi-finals in the 2019/20 campaign and then the final in May this year.
Despite this failure to be promoted, the former England youth team manager has transformed the club into promotion challengers again and are likely to be competing at the right end of the Championship once more in the next year, even without star man Andre Ayew, whose contract at the Liberty Stadium expired last week.
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The Ghanaian has been a key cog in the Welsh side’s machine during Cooper’s tenure, scoring 31 goals in 87 appearances in the past two seasons and the manager’s main job this summer will be to find an adequate replacement.
With Ayew departing the club, one person who does now look set to stay at the club is Cooper. He was under consideration at both Crystal Palace and Fulham, but the pair have appointed Patrick Vieira and Marco Silva respectively and ended current speculation over his future.
Because Cooper has been instrumental in Swansea’s success in the two years since he joined back in 2019, the players could have easily been distracted by this speculation but Cullen has said the Championship side remains unfazed by this speculation.
Speaking to the BBC on this topic, Cullen stated: “The only thing we look at is that he’s the manager.
“He’s the manager until he’s not the manager. We come in, we listen to him and do the training that he sets. We play for him.
“As far as we’re concerned, he’s been our manager for the last two seasons and he is now.”
The departure of key player Ayew makes it even more important for Swansea that Cooper remains in his position as manager.
They need to dust themselves down from this blow, find a way of scoring freely without him and potentially find a new striker or two to counter that lost attacking firepower.
This may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not an impossible one and with the Swans inching closer and closer to promotion in recent seasons, a good start to the next campaign could finally push them over the line.
It’s no secret their form dropped off quite considerably towards the end of the last campaign and this will be a source of concern – but Swansea fans should be feeling optimistic for as long as Cooper remains as manager.
Cullen’s attitude on this issue is spot on – and it’s the type of mentality that can win promotion. Supporters of the club are very lucky to have a talented manager and a focused group of players.