Graham Potter has admitted the guts and gumption being shown by his Swansea City team will only take them so far.
The Swans manager saw his side fail to score at home for the second successive match as they were held 0-0 at the Liberty Stadium by Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
The point was enough to keep them in the play-off places, but Potter has acknowledged resilience and determination in adversity won’t get the Swans anywhere near returning to the Premier League.
That goal seems a long way from Potter’s mind. He did not mention the word promotion when he arrived at the start of the summer, as has not uttered it since, while the actions of the clubs’ American owners suggest returning to the top level would be an unexpected outcome of their cost-cutting rather than an ambition in itself.
The Swans battled through the loss of more players to injury – Bersant Celina and Jay Fulton – but with Jefferson Montero on the injured list for at least a month, they lack craft and guile.
“We have had two battling performances where we’ve been really up against it and come away with four points,” said Potter.
“The challenge for us is to improve our overall play, but we keep getting knock backs which doesn’t help with consistency.
“We have 12 points and we know we need to get better heading into two really tough away fixtures.
“This was a great battling performance – qualities we have shown all season. We also had to reshuffle with more injuries.
“The application has been great but we are honest enough to know we can improve. But you have to give credit to the opposition as well.
“For us it’s a clean sheet and a point. We will probably play better and lose, so we take this and move on to our game against Stoke on Tuesday.”
The Swans don’t have long to wait with their next game, with Potter’s side in action against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Midfielder Matt Grimes paid tribute to the Swans’ character after they made it 12 points from seven games in the Championship this season and is confident they can gain something on their travels to Stoke and then Middlesbrough, where they will look to extend their unbeaten start away from home.
“A game like that is a massive learning experience for us,” said Grimes.
“I think it is testament to our character that we don’t let injuries unsettle us, that we just get on with it. We show a great attitude and grind out results.
“We have two big away games coming up but anyone can beat anyone in this league. We are still full of confidence off the back of Millwall so we will go there and do our best.”