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Graham Potter Says Swans Would Need To Max Out To Make Play-Offs

Graham Potter insists Swansea City will just focus on winning rather contemplating the chances of a successful late charge into the play-offs.

Another Daniel James-inspired victory – this time over Stoke City on Tuesday night – has moved the Swans to within seven points of sixth-placed Aston Villa.

Given that there are also six other Championship clubs between the Swans and their target, they would appear to be no more than rank outsiders to claim a play-off place.

But the manner of their 3-1 victory – their third successive win, which have all featured three goals scored – makes it feasible to imagine the winning streak may continue.

Realistically, they would probably need to win all six of their remaining matches and hope Villa or Bristol City hit a slump if they were to keep alive the possibility of an immediate return to the Premier League.

That would give the Swans 74 points. Last season’s sixth-placed finishers were Derby County, who reached 75.

The test will come with away games and although their three remaining trips to QPR, Ipswich and Blackburn are all at struggling sides, it is on the road where the Swans’ failings – especially defending set-pieces – have been exposed.

Potter opened the door to the possibility of a play-off surge, but only a fraction when he said: “We do not think about the play-offs, we just focus on the next match.

“We have not got enough points. We are in a good place, we are confident and we believe we can beat anybody. But, of course, we know we can lose to anybody if we do not play well.

“We are in that situation, we are a humble group and the lads know if we do not play well, we don’t win.

“Clearly we need points to be able to get into the play-offs, so for us we just need to try and get as close to maximum as we can and see what happens.”

James produced another scintillating display as Swansea beat nine-man Stoke in front of watching Wales manager Ryan Giggs.

It was Giggs who handed 21-year-old James his international debut last year and the winger again underlined that faith by scoring a stunning first-half opener and leading the Stoke defence a merry dance.

The Potters simply couldn’t cope with James and he was taken out by last man Bruno Martins Indi, who saw red. He was also fouled in either half by Tom Edwards, who was sent off for two bookings.

Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn and Stoke’s James McClean had both scored before the break, but Oli McBurnie made it 3-1 to the hosts in the second half.

The only down side was the Swans’ inability to score more than one goal against 10 men for half an hour. They became ragged, disjointed and inaccurate.

Reflecting on the growing influence of James, Potter said: “I have run out of superlatives to be honest.

“His ability to run, his desire to run and his courage and quality, we are just lucky to witness it I think.

“He works for the team and wants to do what he is good at, and it is just nice to see a lad enjoying his football and playing to a really good level of performance.

“It was a high-level performance. If you are being honest that performance is above the Championship. That level of performance is above the Championship.

“We are all just fortunate to witness that type of performance from him and the team as well.

“Dan will be the first to say he needs the team to help him get the ball and have the structure to express himself, we have done that and he has got the quality to top it all off.

“It was as good an individual performance as I have witnessed. He was so, so good.”

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