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Under-fire Bob Bradley on Swansea: “We are our own worst enemy”

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Bob Bradley looked dejected on the sidelines on Boxing Day.

Rightly so.

[ RECAP: Swans hammered 4-1

The American coach watched on as his Swansea City side put in another dreadful defensive display as they lost 4-1 to West Ham United on Monday to deepen their relegation fears.

With Bradley, 58, under pressure to deliver wins the home fans began to turn on him and the new American owners at the Liberty Stadium.

All is not well in South Wales as Bradley has now lost seven times in his first 11 games in charge of the Swans.

“That was a tough afternoon in all ways,” Bradley said. “You saw a team who have gone through a period where nothing goes right and today was more of the same. At the moment we are our own worst enemy. No matter what we do, we seem to put ourselves in terrible spots, and getting away from that is hard work.”

Bradley is spot on.

So many of the goals Swansea has conceded since he took charge have been preventable and that was again the case against West Ham.

Lukasz Fabianski spilled the ball and Andre Ayew put West Ham ahead, then Winston Reid headed home from a set piece, Michail Antonio made the most of Swansea’s defense being slow to get out for the third goal and Andy Carroll then peeled away to the back post to score the fourth.

With the Swans now having the worst defense in the Premier League and conceding more goals than any other team since Bradley arrived in October, the fans have turned on the New Jersey native.

He knows they must work hard to win them back.

“After 18 games we are in a very difficult position, but that leaves us 20 games to fight to stay up and to win back the supporters,” Bradley admitted. “We all heard the response in the stadium today. It doesn’t feel good, but sometimes in football you have to fight when everything is going against you. There’s no magic formula for turning things around other than not giving up and working hard to try to find a way.”

That said, the former U.S. men’s national team coach is not giving up even though he admits the latest defeat was nowhere near good enough.

“I understood this was a difficult situation when I came here. I said then I would fight every day to do the job and I continue to be fully committed to doing that,” Bradley said. “I believe in my work. I believe in the message I give to the players. Having said that, there’s no getting around the fact that when things are going against you, when the margins are so small, it is difficult. In certain moments in football, a play can go against you. It’s the ability to handle it when that happens that has to be what our players are about.

” When we go down in a game, we have to roll up our sleeves and believe. But I don’t make excuses. After a game like that, I take responsibility. It’s not good enough. We have to look at each other and say that in the second half, when we had the opportunity to fight back, we were not able to it.”

January 1 can’t some soon enough as Bradley needs defensive reinforcements.

Swansea’s game against Bournemouth on Dec. 31 will be huge in deciding not only his future but that of the Swans as they continue to battle against the drop.

Pique: Copa-losing Barca still “really hurting” from UCL exit

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Barcelona was the favorite to win La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey for the majority of the season, but only claimed one.

Liverpool’s amazing comeback to beat Barca in the second leg of the UCL semifinals met Saturday’s loss to Valencia in the Copa del Rey Final to give Barca a league title alone.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Even with that La Liga advantage being decisive — Barca carried the table by 11 points over Atletico Madrid and finished 19 ahead of Real Madrid — there’s a very dour mood and promised change for the Camp Nou set.

And Gerard Pique says it all traces back to the loss against Liverpool. From The Liverpool Echo:

“I believe that if we had gotten through at Liverpool, we would have won the treble. We would have come here [to the Copa del Rey final] with a different mood, and I’m convinced we would have won the Champions League final, but that is football. We are really, really hurting.”

There are hints of a massive clear-out at Barcelona, with Lionel Messi and Pique two of the only safe bets to stay. When will Barca get over it?

Brazilian team tangles in locker room futmesa (video)

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It was defense versus attack in the Brazil dressing room.

Neymar and Gabriel Jesus squared off with international teammates Filipe Luis and Ederson in a game of futmesa/table soccer this week.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Neymar and Filipe Luis are used to be on different sides of the field from their time in La Liga, while Jesus and Ederson are teammates at Manchester City.

Brazil is hosting this summer’s Copa America and is the favorite to win its first tournament since 2007, when it claimed its fourth in five tries.

It’s really impressive stuff for us normal to subpar athletes, even if standard for those with such deft talent.

Quite a winner from Man City’s young striker.

Jovic could see himself in Premier League, Serie A

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Maybe Luka Jovic’s presumed move to Real Madrid won’t happen this summer.

Or at all.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

The Eintracht Frankfurt striker has been tipped for a move away from the Bundesliga after another strong campaign, and taking the center forward reins from Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.

Several outlets reported the deal as done, but Jovic isn’t speaking that way (or at least the Serbian is throwing us off the scent.

From Goal.com:

“In terms of the physique, the Bundesliga is very demanding, but after the games against Chelsea or Inter Milan, I personally had the feeling that I could feel even better [playing] in the Premier League or Serie A. … The way the teams play there suits me better.”

Jovic scored 27 times in 48 appearances for Frankfurt, adding seven assists at the tender age of 21. Ten of those came in the Europa League, and we’re not talking about flooding the nets of minnows; Jovic scored against Chelsea (twice), Marseille (three), Lazio (two), and Inter Milan (once).

Report: Chelsea, Real $38M apart on Hazard

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How much for Hazard?

Real Madrid are willing to pay $127 million, no small fee, to bring Eden Hazard from Chelsea, but that’s well off the Blues’ evaluation according to Sky Sports.

Chelsea sees Hazard’s price as $165 million. Belgian writer Kristof Terreur told Sky that Hazard wants his future sorted by June 4.

[ MORE: Bayern wins double ]

The Blues’ superstar is entering the final year of his contract, and could begin negotiating with other clubs in January and leave on a free transfer.

Hazard turns 29 in January. He recorded 19 goals and 16 assists in 51 matches this season, his best output in a Blues uniform.

The report says Chelsea feels no pressure to sell Hazard, but it would be a surprise if it dug in its heels too deeply considering the state of the Belgian’s contract.

Even for Chelsea, letting over $100 million walk out the door is wild, and for all Hazard’s won with Chelsea there’s also been consternation under several managers and a more than occasional habit of disappointing on the table.