Bob Bradley: Swansea City entering “critical period” in season

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Bob Bradley is looking to build on his first win as Swansea City manager.

Bradley, 58, became the first-ever American coach to win a Premier League game last Saturday as the Swans beat Crystal Palace 5-4 in an incredible game at the Liberty Stadium.

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This Saturday Bradley takes his team on the road to White Hart Lane (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSports.com) and he knows the challenge will be a tough one.

But it isn’t just the upcoming battle against Mauricio Pochettino‘s men which is in his focus. Bradley also has one eye on the run of six games coming up after Swansea’s trip to Spurs as they face Sunderland, West Brom, Middlesbrough, West Ham, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.

“I think it’s a critical period between now and the beginning of the new year,” Bradley said. “I keep getting asked questions about the January transfer window, but I also understand that between now and then, there are a lot of important matches. It’s a busy schedule through the holidays, and it’s an opportunity for us to turn things around – to put a bad start behind us and really give a bit more belief to the idea that we are ready to end the season in a strong way.”

For Swansea, heading to Spurs is almost a free hit. Nobody expects them to get anything at the Lane (they’ve never beaten Spurs in the Premier League, in case you were wondering) and a point would be a great result for Bradley’s side.

However in the run of six games following this weekend, 18 crucial points are up for grabs and 12 points would be a great haul from those matches around the festive period and they’d go a long way to pushing the Swans towards midtable.

First up Bradley will look for Swansea to win the home games against Sunderland, West Ham and Bournemouth and then nab a win on the road at West Brom, Middlesbrough or Crystal Palace. All of those six teams are right around the South Wales club and if Bradley is going to drag them out of the relegation zone then winning as many of these “six pointers” (nope, it’s not too early to call them that) is crucial. Especially when you look at the schedule in January…

Arsenal, Liverpool, Southampton, Manchester City and Leicester City come in the five games after this “critical period” for Swansea.

The main thing Bradley will try to improve is the defense because we saw how bad some of the set piece defending was against Palace, plus a severe lack of luck has gone against the Swans with own goals flying in too. Those are the kinds of things which happen when you’re down there.

That said, Bradley has the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Leroy Fer scoring regularly and if Fernando Llorente stays fit, he will also be a danger man.

If Swansea can get through December with three wins under their belt, things will be looking a lot better for Bradley.