Bob Bradley got his first point as a Premier League manager on Saturday but the American coach knew it should’ve been more.
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Gylfi Sigurdsson hit the post and Mike Van der Hoorn produced a fine save from Hurelho Gomes as the Swans drew 0-0 with Watford at the Liberty Stadium in Bradley’s first home game in charge.
Making five changes to his Swansea City side which lost 3-2 at Arsenal last week, Bradley made the Swans much tougher to break down as Watford’s striking duo of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo barely had a sniff at goal.
Young center back Alfie Mawson impressed, as Bradley changed three of the back four who looked shaky at Arsenal last time out, and for most of the season.
Speaking to the BBC about the 0-0 draw, Bradley was happy with the second half display and Swansea’s first clean sheet in eight Premier League games.
“The second half was strong and we came out right from the beginning looking for a goal. It didn’t happen but there are a lot of positives. It was important to get a clean sheet and the play from our center halves was solid as Deeney and Ighalo are difficult to play against. This is a step we can build on,” Bradley said. “Alfie (Mawson) impressed and it is not a surprise when you see him day in, day out. He is strong, good in the air and I am very happy with him.”
“I think the team we picked today made sense, we had a solid game but we are disappointed. It is a home match so we want three points, but you see the chances we are creating and we can feel good and try to move in the right direction. There is disappointment for sure, but a shared feeling of an all-round good effort.”
If you look at the stats below, it suggests just how tight Bradley’s side was at the back, with the expected goals map showing a 0.4 rating for Watford.
We all know that Bradley will bring defensive solidity and improved organization but the fact that he has done it so quickly at Swansea will be a big bonus for the New Jersey native.
Bradley knows that the goals will come with Sigurdsson and Modou Barrow particularly dangerous, once again, but the main thing which will help the Swans climb up the table and away from the relegation zone is clean sheets and nicking wins.
With the next four games handing Bradley two tough matches and two winnable ones — they face Manchester United and Crystal Palace at home and Stoke City and Everton away — the Swans will look to keep it tight and take their chances when they come.
They didn’t do that on Saturday but the progress is clear for all to see. For a team who is without a win in eight PL games, they aren’t letting it impact their play as Bradley continues to whip them into shape.