Thursday 27 July 2017

Fernando Llorente mentality and experience vital for Swansea - Bob Bradley

Fernando Llorente proved to be the super-sub once again for Bob Bradley
Fernando Llorente proved to be the super-sub once again for Bob Bradley

Swansea boss Bob Bradley believes Fernando Llorente's winning mentality can pull them clear of Premier League relegation danger.

Llorente bagged a brace for the second successive home game as Swansea climbed out of the drop zone with an emphatic 3-0 victory over fellow strugglers Sunderland.

The Spanish World Cup winner encountered a difficult start to life in English football and was dropped from the matchday squad at Everton three weeks ago.

But since then the former Juventus and Sevilla striker has been a revelation, and the 31-year-old followed up Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty at the start of the second half to hand Swansea their biggest win of the season.

"We absolutely believed Fernando can be an important player," Bradley said. "There's a good understanding with Gylfi playing underneath him.

"His presence, his experience as a winner... Every manager loves players who have been part of winning teams.

"They have the right mentality and can bring experiences from that winning culture into the training ground and dressing room."

Swansea had started the day bottom of the table and with Bradley under severe scrutiny following a 5-0 thrashing at Tottenham last weekend.

But victory took them above Sunderland - who now fill bottom spot - Hull and West Ham, who play their game in hand at Liverpool on Sunday.

"It's a nice bonus to be out of the bottom three, but the work is still there and we can't get ahead of ourselves," Bradley said.

"Players used the word 'pride' a lot when we talked this week.

"We asked what it looks like on the pitch - intensity, clean sheets - but don't just talk about it, turn it into something more.

"At the end of that, you can look at the table for a few seconds and say you're not there yet.

"But it looks better than last week and we can move forward.

"This is a step but we have to build upon it. There's a lot of work to do."

Sunderland were in good heart after winning three of their previous four matches, and they had their moments before Jason Denayer handled Wayne Routledge's 51st-minute cross.

Denayer raised his arm into a position that referee Craig Pawson felt was unnatural, but Black Cats boss David Moyes felt it was a wrong decision.

"I think it's too close to give a penalty," the Scot said. "I think it's harsh and it's turned the game.

"But we never got up and running. We threatened to play well in the first half, but we never got to grips with it.

"We had lots of confidence after some good form, but a couple of things didn't go for us. You need that and it's something Swansea had."

On the relegation picture, Moyes added: "We were out of it a while ago, now we're back in it.

"It's chopped and changed and it will continue to do so.

"I think there's a lot on teams winning at home at this level and Swansea have won theirs today."

Press Association

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