Bob Bradley: 'We needed to stick to the plan'

On Tuesday night, Bob Bradley got word that he had been fired as Swansea City manager after just 85 days and 11 games in charge of the struggling English Premier League club.

On Wednesday, he took to British radio shows to present his side of the story. He admitted on TalkSPORT he was "a little bit pissed off" and didn't agree with the decision. On BBC Radio Wales, he expressed his disappointment with the impatience of Swansea City's new American owners and its supporters.

“I believe in my work," Bradley told TalkSPORT, "and I certainly knew that I was going into a difficult situation and I also understand that when you go in the clock’s already ticking, so it’s not like you’re expecting all sorts of time."

Bradley's frustration is that he never got a chance to rebuild the team in the January transfer window and leave his imprint on the team.

"We had talked about players," he said of transfer targets. "I’m frustrated because I feel like every place I’ve been, I feel I’ve been able to put my stamp on the team in terms of the mentality, in terms of the football and the tactics."

Swansea City's situation turned from bad to worse on Monday when the Swans lost at home to West Ham United, 4-1, and the Swansea fans turned on Bradley, Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins and Levien and Kaplan, who had taken over as majority owners in the offseason.

Bradley said conceding goals out of nowhere like Swansea City did on the first West Ham goal scored by Andre Ayew -- last season's top Swansea scorer -- was deflating.

"You just could tell at that moment," he said, "the wind comes out of the sails and you see the body language of the players."

The 4-1 defeat was the latest in a series of blowouts. In eight of Bradley's 11 games in charge, Swansea City allowed three or more goals. How to deal with that adversity without bunkering down was the essence of Bradley's challenge.

"You can worry about the score and go for damage control," he said, "or you can encourage the idea that if we're ever going to be a team worth our soul, then we've gotta have to have a way to push back into games."

Bradley took responsibility for that not happening but suggested the Swansea City owners pressed the panic button.

"Jason and Steve are good men, they've been successful in business, but sports, football and business don't always work exactly the same way," Bradley told BBC Radio Wales. "I think that they have still important things they must recognize and learn."

The atmosphere at the Liberty on Tuesday was portrayed at toxic, but Bradley said he felt many Swansea City fans were with him and realized the Swans just needed to bring in new players.

"I was disappointed that when a few balls don't bounce our way and we lose a few points, that they [Kaplan and Levien] let outside factors get in the way of the decision-making," he added. They became more concerned by the negative atmosphere instead of realizing this was a project and that we needed to stick to the plan."

Bradley had the same message for Swansea fans.

"Stick behind the team," he said. "There are off-the-field matters that can be figured out over time, but when a team is fighting to stay up it needs everybody to get behind the team. That's what real supporters are about."

20 comments about "Bob Bradley: 'We needed to stick to the plan'".
  1. Bill Morrison, December 29, 2016 at 4:56 a.m.

    I think BB has a right to be "pissed off." It was obvious from the get-go that he didn't have the backing of the fans; now you can argue whether he should have been given the job in the first place, that's a legitimate point for debate. But, having been handed the job, he should have at least been given through the Jan. transfer window to get new players in to try to turn this team around. Does anyone really think that Pep, Jose, Klopp, or some other high-profile manager could have really done any better with this collection of sad sacks? With the possible exception of Gylfi Sigurdsson, what PL team would pay a dime for any other Swansea player? If you continually sell you best players and don't replace them with ones equally good or better, there's only one place you're going, and that's down. Good luck to Giggs, Coleman or whatever Welsh savior the fans think is going to save them. I think its too bad that Bob wasn't given the transfer window, the cash to buy new players - more like an entire new team - and a few months or the end of the season, try to pull them out of the relegation zone.

  2. Gerald Murphy replied, December 29, 2016 at 10:26 a.m.

    Agree, well stated. However, Bob was not successful in getting the team to shore-up the defensive side first. There is nothing up top. The same record with close games would have been a different story. Now was not the time to push forward.

  3. Bob Ashpole, December 29, 2016 at 6:52 a.m.

    Bill, what you said makes a lot of sense. The only point I disagree with is that hiring Bradley was arguably a mistake. At this point they won't get a willing outsider with Bradley's experience. In Swansea's situation, established coaches are not going to be willing to risk their reputation on an almost impossible job regardless of offered compensation. After the way Bradley was treated, there is even less reason for an established coach to take the job. From what was said to the press earlier for whatever reasons the club is only looking to pick up 2 or at most 3 players during the January window.

  4. Terry Lynch, December 29, 2016 at 7:45 a.m.

    Agree with you guys. Well said. But the club will find another coach, not unlike Bradley, desperate for PL experience. Probably Giggs. Since he's Welsh and not American, and has PL creds, he will get more time and the transfer windows. I'll bet that is the plan.

  5. Bob Ashpole, December 29, 2016 at 10 a.m.

    Giggs would be a great choice, but doesn't fit the "desparate" for EPL experience profile.

  6. Tim Schum, December 29, 2016 at 2:54 p.m.

    Naive American owners gave a very good, though American, coach a brief chance. That's the scenario.
    It's about time we Americans get off the "British bandwagon." I personally am sick and tired of having our television networks and other segments of the sports media cowtow (sp) to British retreads who seem to know everything we need to know about the game.
    It's also about time we Americans recognize and honor the very good quality soccer coaches, male and female, we have produced in this country.
    We can't let this "loaded gun" situation detract from the fact that BB is a very good coach who has paid his coaching dues and, were, he given a half chance, more than likely would have succeeded.
    Perhaps if the British media were a bit fairer they might have attended a BB training session or two and reached some comparison between them and what the former coach was trying to attain. If the BB sessions were unconvincing then perhaps they would have some grounds for dismissal of his expertise.
    Instead "we" don't know whether the ball is sewn or blown and "the experiment" ends.
    Thanks for BB for putting his butt out there and trying to represent the US soccer coaching community.We all owe him a debt of gratitude.
    But as the old adage goes: "You can't make chicken salad out of chicken ----."
    Incidently - how many years has it been since the British won the World Cup? And - if they know so much about the game, now the hell do they lose to Iceland last summer?
    Finally, will the next billionaire who desires to add to his "toys" and own a foreign football team please have more than a passing familiarity with the game?

  7. Kris Spyrka replied, December 29, 2016 at 9:17 p.m.

    Tim Schum, you read my mind! How many decades were the Brits playing long ball, kick and run before they had to convert or die, adapting continental tactics? Answer: Many.

    I'm so tired of hearing announcers with English and Scottish accents on US networks, that when I get the opportunity to watch a live match, be it La Liga or Bundesliga, I switch over to the native announcers. If it's Fox 1 Bundesliga, I drop in the radio audio from the German club.

    Before the FA and their fans get a big head on all things football, I would like to remind them that watching the current top five PL, you are watching Italian, German, Spanish, French and Argentina coached teams with predominately foreign squads, and it probably goes much deeper down the table than that, not to mention the Dutch and the Portuguese guys.

    Switching gears, Swansea's US ownership, definitely obscure? I am thinking of another american business duo that will be remembered by Liverpool fans as one of their darkest periods in club history!

  8. Ric Fonseca, December 29, 2016 at 3:35 p.m.

    TO COACH TIM SCHUM: All I can say here, is a huge THANK YOU for your comment, as it IS spot on. As for the tv networks to constantly reach out for the "British retreads," needless to say I share this sentiment completely with you!!! Lastly, although I am not a complete BB fan, I do agree he got very short shrift by the "lads on the other side of the pond, eh wott?" Now if we can just convince the guys in MLS, on down the coaching/leagues sphere of influence and also here at home, teach out player's parents that just 'cause one has an English or other European or even Latino tilt in their speech patterns, it for sure DOES NOT mean they know the finer intricacies of teaching/coaching soccer!!!

  9. trebor gt, December 29, 2016 at 7:02 p.m.

    Bob got screwed. Period. We all agree. The next coach will come in right around the transfer window closure and have a hand in selecting new players. No coach in the UK will take the job between now and then to avoid proving what BB already knew, that this is a club 2 to 3 players away from decent and no coach can make water into wine. A very good friends of mine is from Swansea and listening to the nonsensical commentary about how they should have picked this coach or that was evidence enough that being American is definitely not something desirable and their press and fans were never going to give him a chance.

  10. MA Soccer, December 29, 2016 at 7:19 p.m.

    Remember the people who hired and fired Bob were Americans. A large group of people on this site need to take a deep breath. Get on with it. Bob knew what he was getting into was obviously on a short leash and did not perform well enough. The owners were worse.
    I would leave the bravado at the door regarding last time England won a world cup, we would kill for their roster and they are much closer to winning a cup, This is about a good coach taking a chance that did not work out.

  11. Amy Black, December 29, 2016 at 10:16 p.m.

    Firing the manager when a team sucks is a reflexive English habit, and it's been shown over and over that it doesn't cause the team to suddenly start winning.
    Agree that BB was dealt a crap hand here, not given adequate time to build a squad...just like his predecessor. This is a problem with Swansea, not BB.
    Also agree that the snotty Swans supporters and English football pundits need to profile the top of the PL table -- scarcely an English manager, and only a handful of English players.

  12. trebor gt replied, December 30, 2016 at 10:59 a.m.

    Bingo Amy....

  13. John Schubert, December 30, 2016 at 10:37 a.m.

    Bradley took a managieral role for a club that has virtually no talent and apparently no ownership support. Bob Bradley did not fail the Swansea City Club but it failed him.

  14. Stuart Murray, December 30, 2016 at 3:58 p.m.

    The other day, ESPN’s "boiling-point" soccer pundit, Craig Burley, angrily ticked off reasons that proved Swansea’s ineptitude and why Bradley deserved to be fired.

    Burley steamed through Swansea’s shortcomings, including that the players couldn’t hold the ball. He also hissed that anybody who disagreed was a fool or a moron who didn’t know anything about the game.

    But according to ESPN's own stats, in 8 of the 11 games under Bradley, Swansea had more possession, including against Arsenal, 51%–49%.

    Possession in Bradley’s last four games: Sunderland 38%, Swansea 62%; West Brom 39%, Swansea 61%; Middlesboro 48%, Swansea 57%; West Ham 44%, Swansea 56%.

    After the last game, before the firing, West Ham’s manager, Slavan Bilic, said he had been watching Swansea for weeks and thought the team was “excellent.”

    Does Bilic know something that Burley doesn’t?

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, December 30, 2016 at 4:36 p.m.

    There is a reason I don't listen to ESPN commentators.

  16. MA Soccer, December 31, 2016 at 10:05 a.m.

    Stuart did you watch the West Ham game? It was replayed this morning. I like BB but he lost the team and the supporters it was time for a change. I felt bad for BB watching it, I hope he ends up in a good place.

  17. Stuart Murray replied, December 31, 2016 at 1:09 p.m.

    MA Soccer: No, I didn't see the game. But I thought it worthwhile to inject the possession stat when such a blatantly false assertion was made about Bradley's team. I'm not a proponent of using better possession as any excuse for not winning, but Bradley was in the early building phase, where possession tells a lot about how the team plays and how it functions as a team. I also have much admiration for Bilic, a 16-year manager, who better understands what it takes to develop a team than would any pundit who was a player but never a manager or coach.

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, December 31, 2016 at 7:35 p.m.

    Well said, Stuart.

  19. John Hutchins, January 1, 2017 at 10:29 a.m.

    I agree BB was terminated too soon, he needed to be allowed to finish this season, at minimum, and then do a more objective performance evaluation. I believe the team would have started to have some success...depending on who they picked up in January.

    In response to MA Soccer and England having a team we would kill for, maybe on paper, but England's results to USA's results have been pretty equal from 1994 and on. Review the results and make your own determination...I believe England should have done better and probably would have if their coaching staff was better because their player's has been good, at least on paper:

    USA 1994: DNQ
    • France 1998: Lost to Argentina in Second Round in penalties (Group Play results: Beat Tunisia 2-0, Lost to Romania 1-2, Beat Colombia 2-0)
    • South Korea/Japan 2002: Lost to Brazil in Quarterfinals 1-2; Second Round Beat Denmark 3-0 (Group Play results: Draw with Sweden 1-1, Beat Argentina 1-0, Draw with Nigeria)
    • Germany 2006: Lost to Portugal in Quarterfinals in penalties; Second Round Beat Ecuador 1-0 (Group Play results: Beat Paraguay 1-0, Beat Trinidad & Tobago 1-0, Draw with Sweden 2-2)
    • South Africa 2010: Lost to Germany in Second Round 0-4 (Group Play results: Draw with USA 1-1, Draw with Algeria 0-0,  Beat Slovenia 1-0)
    • Brazil 2014: Eliminated in Group Stage (Group Play results: Lost to Italy 1-2, Loss to Uruguay 1-2, Draw with Costa Rica 0-0)

    • USA 1994: Lost to Brazil in Second Round 0-1 (Group Play results: Draw with Switzerland 1-1, Beat Colombia 2-1, Lost to Romania 0-1)
    • France 1998: Eliminated in Group Stage (Group Play results: Lost to Germany 0-2, Lost to Iran 1-2, Lost to Yugoslavia 0-1)
    • South Korea/Japan 2002: Lost to Germany in Quarterfinals 0-1; Second Round Beat Mexico 2-0 (Group Play results: Beat Portugal 3-2, Draw with South Korea 1-1, Lost to Poland 1-3)
    • Germany 2006: Eliminated in Group Stage (Group Play results: Lost to Czech Republic 0-3, Draw with Italy 1-1, Lost to Ghana 1-2)
    • South Africa 2010: Lost to Ghana in Second Round 1-2 [OT] (Group Play results: Draw with England 1-1, Draw with Slovenia 2-2,  Beat Algeria 1-0)
    • Brazil 2014: Lost to Belgium in Second Round 1-2 [OT] (Group Play results: Beat Ghana 2-1, Draw with Portugal 2-2, Lost to Germany 0-1)

  20. MA Soccer, January 4, 2017 at 9:22 a.m.

    Stuart watch the game and John you are delusional.

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