Graham Potter has admitted Swansea City have some improving to do if they are to challenge for promotion from the Championship next season.
The Swans manager will spend the summer further re-shaping the squad he inherited 12 months ago, with his main issue likely to be how to hang on to the club’s young talent in the face of pressure to sell.
Owners Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan have issued redundancy notices throughout the club and although they were not handed to Potter and his players, the likes of Daniel James and Oli McBurnie could well leave over the coming weeks if offers come in.
The club’s revenue has dropped by around £65m – from £126m – due to relegation from the Premier League, and with a further reduction due to declining parachute payments next season, further player sales appear inevitable.
Potter, though, will fight to try and keep much of the current squad intact, believing that the experience of their 10th-place finish can act as a foundation for the next campaign.
“Tenth is where we are, we were not good enough to get in the play-off positions, but we have taken steps and improved,” said Potter about his first season in charge, following the final day 2-2 draw at Blackburn Rovers.
“But we still have a bit to do to say we are contenders.
“It’s been challenging, we have had a lot to deal with but we have made steps. The young players have made their first steps in professional football.
“We are among the youngest in the EFL for games for players under 23, so there is a foundation there and the style of how we want to play football has got better as we have gone on.
“I think April was a result of that process where we got results and ended the season in a good way.
“We have remained unbeaten – even though it was difficult after the Hull game to keep the levels high knowing we were out of the fight – we have to have a rest now, recharge and go again.”
As well as trying to hang on to the young talent, Potter must make a decision on the future of 34-year-old Wayne Routledge, who is out of contract.
Routledge was out of favour at the start of the season, but became increasingly important as the campaign went on and ended it as a regular and one of the more consistent performers.
Routledge, who has spent the last eight seasons at the Swans, is out of contract this summer but Potter has indicated there is a desire to retain his services.
“As I have said before, Wayne has been great for us,” said Potter.
“He is someone who I think is important for the club going forward and we will be speaking to him over the next days and weeks – now we have a chance to – to try and do something to keep him at the club.
“I think on and off the pitch I think he has played a big role.
“You have to take that with the context of a financial situation we have to deal with. So, it is not like we can do something automatically. But I am positive we can find a solution.”