Carlos Carvalhal Is Still Fishing And Fighting . . . As The Swans Stay Afloat

Carlos Carvalhal has vowed to keep battling to bring in new players after Jurgen Klopp left Swansea having picked two fights and lost both as well as his team’s unbeaten 18-match record.

Swansea manager Carvalhal paid tribute to his team’s instincts as they scrapped their way to a priceless 1-0 victory over Liverpool on Monday night.

The unexpected triumph has not yet turned their season around, but it has transformed the outlook. Now, only three points adrift of safety and only six from halfway, they will believe there are at least half a dozen clubs they can pick off in the remaining 14 matches of the Premier League season.

For now, Carvalhal will turn his attention to bringing new players in during this January transfer window. The same old names have been mentioned as targets – from lobsters to sardines – but no-one has yet taken a bite.

“We know exactly what we want,” said Carvalhal.

“We want players that can bring some abilities different to what we have here – not to replace because as you saw from this game the commitment is very strong and we are happy with them.

“We know we need players but they must be correct players, and those targets are high and negotiations are more difficult for the board to bring them here.

“But I am sure and I know they are fighting, they are at the table to bring players that can help the team.

“If they are only little bit better, it is not good for us, it is not these players we need we need players to really improve the team and help these brave boys involved in the last six games.”

Liverpool manager Klopp was frustrated by his team’s inability to prevent the Premier League’s bottom club from turning this game into a scrap which Swansea pinched with a counter-puncher’s hit and run method masterclass.

Klopp even came off wounded from an angry verbal exchange with a Swansea supporter, a dust-up he knew he was never going to win and admitted he would have done better to avoid.

The row concluded a miserable night for the German whose team missed a glut of opportunities late on after Swansea defender Alfie Mawson scored what proved to be the only goal of an intense, compelling game.

Swansea City players celebrate their victory. Pic: Getty Images.

The result leaves Liverpool still three points shy of Liverpool in third place and only two points above fifth-placed Tottenham.

The Swans – beaten 5-0 by Liverpool on Boxing Day – remain bottom of the table, but will fancy their chances of completing another successful survival attempt having narrowed the gap between themselves and the safety mark to just three points.

Klopp said: “I am more frustrated about the performance than the result.

“We were just not good enough, especially in the first half. We didn’t play how we wanted to play.

“We didn’t keep the right positions we needed to, to cause them problems and didn’t stretch them.

“We gave them the opportunity to score and then we did exactly what Swansea wanted.

“They didn’t need to play, they needed to fight and we did exactly what they wanted and their confidence grew.”

Liverpool missed opportunities for Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firminho in either half and paid the price when Swansea clung on to a lead provided when

Mawson swept the ball in at a corner in the 41st minute.

Liverpool’s £75m record signing Virgil van Dijk was at fault for the goal as his misplaced header struck Fernandez before Mawson reacted sharply to shoot home from eight yards.

The frustrations provoked Klopp into his verbal dispute with a Swansea fan around the hour mark and he admitted: “He was shouting t me all the time but I reacted.

“I am a human being not just a professional manager.

“I am sure I am not the first manager who has problem. He probably has a season ticket.”

But that was not the battle that really concerned Klopp. It was the manner of his side’s inaccurate, lethargic display.

Klopp added: “Swansea knew that to win today they needed our help and unfortunately we gave it to them.

“They did the right things to deserve to win a game like this tonight and we didn’t deserve it.

A frustrated Jurgen Klopp. Pic: Getty Images.

“We could have equalised at the end, but didn’t have that luck.”

For Carvalhal, this was a tactical masterpiece as he used a five-man defence to stifle Liverpool and then hit them on the break.

The Portuguese likes to use fishing analogies to describe players as either lobsters or sardines, but this time he was borrowing Formula One metaphors as he left Liverpool in the slow lane.

Carvalhal said: “I talked with my players and said this (Liverpool) is a really strong team.

“They are like a Formula One car. But at 4pm in London it will be difficult to speed, they would be a car like any other.

“We needed to make sure there was traffic, we could not let them have open roads to drive in.

“We did some mistakes in the game at Liverpool.

“What we did in the first half was really good, we blocked the space between the attackers, we blocked their dynamic.

“They are a really strong team, but nothing happened in the first half.

“In the second half we expected pressure, lots of speed.

“Instinctively we went defensive and did really amazing.

“In the last five minutes we were lucky, but luck is part of the game and with how hard we worked, we deserved some luck.”

 

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