Sunday 16 December 2018

McBurnie urges Swansea to build on Watford win

Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal sends his side into battle with Tottenham on Tuesday night
Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal sends his side into battle with Tottenham on Tuesday night

Oli McBurnie has challenged Swansea to start 2018 the way they finished 2017 as they attempt to drag themselves up the Premier League table.

The Swans climbed briefly from the bottom of the pile after Saturday's 2-1 win at Watford, only to slip back barely 24 hours later following West Brom's battling 1-1 draw with Arsenal.

Carlos Carvalhal's men know the degree of difficulty will increase markedly on Tuesday evening when they welcome high-flying Tottenham - who have not played since Boxing Day - to the Liberty Stadium, but McBurnie is hoping a significant corner has been turned.

The 21-year-old told the club's official website, "Belief and confidence are some of the main things we need to re-install in our game in 2018.

"The luck has gone against us at times this season, but I think that changed a little with Saturday's win. We have to push on from here and take the belief from Watford into the Tottenham game.

"It will be a very tough game, but it's a challenge we can look forward to in front of our home fans. We have to use Watford as a platform and build on it and continue to go from strength to strength."

Saturday's win was just the second in 13 league games for Swansea, who have collected only eight of the 39 points on offer during that period.

It left them three points adrift of safety, but with Liverpool and Arsenal both due in South Wales after a trip to fellow strugglers Newcastle, the next few weeks could prove intensely testing.

However, after helping his side to come from behind to win at Vicarage Road - they trailed 1-0 with just four minutes remaining - McBurnie is hopeful they have got what it takes to get themselves out of trouble.

He said: "Confidence is a big factor for us. We looked a different side after scoring the equaliser, but we can't let our heads drop if we go behind.

"We need to keep our confidence as high as possible to climb out of the relegation zone."

Carvalhal will make a late check on Tammy Abraham, who is struggling with a stomach muscle injury, while fellow striker Wilfried Bony is battling a hamstring problem.

Full-back Kyle Naughton will be missing as he begins a three-match ban after accepting a Football Association charge of violent conduct for a stamp on Watford's Stefano Okaka.

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