Wednesday 22 January 2020

Bob Bradley proud to face Arsene Wenger in first Premier League game

New Swansea manager Bob Bradley is set for his Premier League debut
New Swansea manager Bob Bradley is set for his Premier League debut

Swansea manager Bob Bradley feels he is privileged to be making his bow in English football against Arsene Wenger.

The Premier League's newest manager comes up against the division's longest serving of 20 years standing, with former United States boss Bradley believing it ranks alongside any of his achievements in football.

Bradley guided the USA into the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup and also ended Spain's unbeaten 35-game streak on the way to America finishing runners-up at the 2009 Confederations Cup.

But ahead of Swansea's trip to Arsenal, Bradley said: "This is up there for me. I don't usually look back on those things and I've had the chance to coach against some pretty big names - (Fabio) Capello, (Vicente) del Bosque - but Arsene is right up there with the top managers.

"To be at a club for 20 years where the football is such a reflection of the man is a fantastic thing.

"Pep Guardiola was speaking about Johan Cruyff last week and his influence about being more than trophies, and if you look at what has happened over 20 years at Arsenal it's the same kind of influence."

Bradley has met Wenger once before when he visited the Arsenal training ground during his time as United States manager between 2006 and 2011.

The 58-year-old recalls it as a "good experience" with someone who is "fun to talk football with", but Bradley says being at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday will realise a dream as he becomes the first American to manage in the Premier League.

"I will take a few seconds to look into the stands and then very quickly get my mind back on the game," Bradley said.

"I won't take a long time on that stuff but, without a doubt. I will take it in. I've done that before.

"When you lead your team onto the field in a World Cup you have to take a second to look around.

"I tell the players that, then you make sure you put that away and get yourself ready for the whistle."

After succeeding Francesco Guidolin during the international break, Bradley is tasked with extending Swansea's impressive record at Arsenal.

The in-form Gunners have rolled off five consecutive victories to move into third place in the Premier League b ut Swansea have won three of their last five Premier League visits to the Emirates and have been beaten there only once.

"I'm very aware of the record and the part I love about it is that we can go there with confidence," Bradley said.

"We have guys who have won there before, and they can set a good example.

"But to win there you have to play well, all the details need to be right and you've got to have confidence when you have the ball."

Bradley has already identified that his squad's fitness levels need to be improved.

Former US fitness chief Pierre Barrieu is set to join his backroom staff at the Liberty Stadium.

Bradley said: "Getting fitness levels back up is 100 per cent a target.

"There are different styles of managers, everybody finds a way that works for them, but I still believe that football fitness and sharpness comes largely from training.

"The players have been incredibly respectful towards Francesco, but I think you would also find that they felt that kind of training had gone away a little bit."

PA Media

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