Swansea City manager Steve Cooper has insisted that he is focusing solely on the Swans’ crucial play-off clash against Barnsley on Saturday, rather than on his future amid links to Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur.
Palace are searching for a replacement for Roy Hodgson with the veteran manager set to leave Palace at the end of the campaign. Cooper is reportedly a top target for the Eagles heading into the summer with him having impressed during his time in charge at the Liberty Stadium.
While he has also reportedly been on the radar of Tottenham as they consider their options to replace Jose Mourinho.
Cooper has guided Swansea to within just ninety minutes of a place at Wembley in the Championship play-off final. The Swans will take a potentially crucial 1-0 lead into their second leg having come away from Oakwell with the win thanks to a moment of individual quality from Andre Ayew. Winning promotion might well be the Welsh club’s best chance of keeping their manager.
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Speaking to Sky Sports, Cooper insisted that the focus is not on his potential future at the moment and he is instead concentrating on the job in hand of getting Swansea through their second leg against Barnsley and to the play-off final.
He said: “I’m in that bubble like everyone else at the moment and just focusing on that.
“Nothing will distract me or anybody else, because this week is too important.
“We’re motivated, we’re excited, all of those things you feel in big games. Nothing else is on our mind and I won’t let anything get in anyone else’s mind in our group.
“It’s about recovery, preparation and being as ready as we can for the next game. If you do that, then nothing else creeps in.”
Cooper is saying the right things here and it is exactly what he needs to say and you would expect of him with Swansea facing a vital play-off semi-final second leg against Barnsley. However, he did not confirm that he would be remaining with the Swans whatever the outcome of their game against the Tykes and that means that there will continue to be speculation over his future.
The Swans will know they face a difficult task of keeping hold of Cooper beyond the next few weeks. Palace are now on the hunt for a new manager and then there also clubs like West Brom and Tottenham in the market for a new coach as well. The job he has done at the Liberty Stadium means there will always be suggestions he could be taken off Swansea.
However, if they are to go on and secure promotion to the Premier League, then you would have to think that gives them a good chance of ensuring they hold of Cooper. Therefore, he must maintain his focus and the focus of his players on the job in hand against Barnsley. That is something that will be happening based on these latest comments.