Swansea City boss Steve Cooper insists he doesn’t care about whoever has the favourites tag going into the play-offs, after Valérien Ismaël claimed his Barnsley side are underdogs.
Few expected the Tykes to be in this position before the season began, and they were fighting relegation when the Frenchman was appointed earlier in the campaign.
Therefore, Ismaël’s comments that his side are outsiders is understandable, although, as we know, it counts for little when the high pressure games come around.
And, speaking to Wales Online, Cooper wasn’t going to be drawn on who will be expected to reach Wembley, with his only concern on getting his team performing.
“I’m only focused on ourselves and our players. Some people are telling us that we’re fourth favourites and the other one is telling us they’re [Barnsley] underdogs. Zero interest from me.
“All I’m interested in is our preparation, our mentality and the support we give the players to back themselves.”
Swansea will take encouragement from the fact that they have beaten the Yorkshire side 2-0 twice in the two games in the regular season.
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This is a sensible message from Cooper, as he shouldn’t say anything that could be used to fire up the opposition players ahead of the game.
In truth, there’s nothing between the sides anyway, with the bookmakers odds reflecting that. They are both in the play-offs on merit and they were separated by just two points across 46 games.
Ultimately, it’s going to be down to whoever performs over the two games, and both managers will believe that they have what it takes to make the final.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.