Under fire Swansea coach Bob Bradley is the latest subject of Manager Files, as we take a look at the tactics, mannerisms, demeanour and touchline antics of the game’s top bosses.
Long dark overcoat and fairly questionable grey slacks, it was clear Swansea boss Bob Bradley had picked his own match day outfit in Sunday’s disappointing defeat to Manchester United. ‘Functional rather than fashionable’ I think is the best description of the big American’s attire and while Swansea’s football at the Liberty was anything but red hot I bet that jacket kept him porky warm.
Bradley hails from Montclair in New Jersey but could easily be mistaken for a PE teacher from these shores who would not think twice about forcing you out into the freezing cold while wearing mismatched lost property and a pair of penny blacks because you forgot your kit.
Much to the chagrin of the home faithful, Bradley persevered with a 4-4-2 formation and it was quite puzzling why he sent his side out to play so openly against the Red Devils.
The hosts were on the back foot from the first whistle and you have to question how United – who have been struggling themselves in recent weeks – ended up having 63% possession away from home.
Swansea were overran in midfield early on with Leon Britton and Ki Sung-Yeung no match for the likes of Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini in the middle of the park. It must be worrying for Jacks fans that they have not won a game since Bradley took over as boss on October 3, and with the tactics so off, that elusive first win could be some time in coming.
Certainly the club’s American owners watching on from the stands looked far from amused at what they were seeing….
Swansea’s frailties were brutally exposed and the game as a contest was effectively over after just 33 minutes thanks to a Pogba scorcher and a double from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Bradley cut a forlorn figure on the sidelines and was forced to listen as the fans vented their anger throughout, though in fairness their ire was directed more at the directors box than at Bradley himself or indeed the players. The fans booed Swansea off at half-time and full-time and in between sang “We want our club back” along with other decidedly less polite ditty’s.
After several seasons of reasoned success under Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup, that League Cup triumph in 2013 – and the Europa League football that followed the next season – has rarely looked further away in recent years.
What they said
With Swansea now second from bottom Bradley questioned his players’ commitment post-match as their winless run stretched to 10 games.
“We just didn’t show enough commitment to close things down or get right on people. You can’t play against a good team and play that way,” he said.
“The second half was a little progress but you can’t take solace from playing a bit better in the second half when you’re down 3-0.”
And of their current predicament down at the foot of the table he said “It’s a tough spot, there’s no two ways about it. We understand very clearly where we are. There’s no hiding from the situation.”
Opposite number Jose Mourinho was forced to watch the action from the stands due to being given a one-match ban but rather than crank up the heat on the Portuguese ahead of this one Bradley was massively respectful of Mourinho in the days leading up to the game.
When asked about Don Jose, Bradley said “I’ve talked to him on the phone and traded some messages with him in the last year. We have some common friends,” he said.
“He’s been in the United States a lot with teams in pre-season and in many of those situations I’ve had the chance to see his team’s train. He’s always been gracious in those moments.”
Bob old son, there’s a fine line between being respectful among peers and outright brown nosing!
Even though he’s only been in the job little over a month Bradley is as low as 14/1 to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post.
Swansea have not won since the opening day of the season and the pressure is building. What’s clear is that unless results pick up soon Bradley won’t get the five years he got with the US National team to put his stamp on proceedings.