We Need More Leaders Like Ashley Williams, Says Bob Bradley

Bob Bradley has admitted Ashley Williams left a leadership vacuum when he joined Everton – but has called on his Swansea City players to fill it.

The Swans will come face-to-face with their former skipper for the first time at Goodison Park on Saturday, desperate for a collective display of the kind of authority which he used to deliver.

Since the Wales captain left in the summer for £12m, his former club have won just once in the Premier League and during Bradley’s four-game spell they have managed just a single point.

“I’ve heard many stories about Ashley and the stories always begin with his leadership ability,” said Bradley.

“When you lose a leader everybody is challenged to take a little bit bigger role. That has been the message to our group now in recent weeks. We need more leaders within our team.”

Swansea have lost three and drawn one of the American’s four matches in charge and he insisted he was not “glossing over anything”.

“We certainly understand we are in an important stretch, need results, need this confidence boost.

“We have to be strong, we have to understand that it’s not just about one part of football. We have got to be better in many ways.”

Bradley, though, has rejected his midfielder Ki Sung-yueng’s claim that the club are in crisis.

The Swans are only above bottom-placed Sunderland on goal difference after failing to win a Premier League game since the opening day.

And Ki said while he was away on international duty with South Korea last week that the atmosphere at Swansea was not good.

‘I cannot lead the team by myself, but I will try to work with team-mates to overcome this crisis,’ the experienced Ki was quoted as saying following the 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Uzbekistan.

The former United States manager accepts that Swansea have to improve quickly to climb out of trouble.

‘It is 11 (league) games, for me four,’ said Bradley. “We certainly understand we are in an important stretch, we need results and a confidence boost. So we are not glossing over anything that is for sure.

‘But I would not say crisis. I just think we have to be strong, we have to understand that it’s not just about one part of football.

‘We have got to be better in many ways. For me right now it’s about the recognition of key moments and making plays that matter.

‘I’ve used the word ‘intensity’, and I still look at us at times and feel like we can be in a good position.

‘But then when those moments arise I’m not always sure we recognise them and we have the kind of strong reaction and intensity that we need.’

Ki admitted Swansea were ‘feeling much pressure’ as they attempt to bridge the six-point gap between themselves and West Ham in 17th position.

And Ki said Bradley is ‘trying to figure out the team and players’ after succeeding the sacked Francesco Guidolin at the start of October.

‘I understand supporters feeling their passion, their emotion, their disappointment with where we stand at the moment,’ Bradley said.

‘That part I absolutely get. But then I have to have an ability with the players when they show up every day to basically challenge them.

‘I challenge them to understand that you don’t get out of these tough spots in football if you don’t have enough real guys.

‘These guys have to say ‘okay, we have put ourselves in this bad spot and now this is not going to be the end of us’.

Would I rather that Ki or anybody speaks in a strong way at this time and says ‘we’re committed, we understand the spot we created, a bad situation for ourselves, and we are going to change it around?’

‘Yes, I would rather them speak that way, but you get a player in a different moment. He says whatever.

‘My job is to look them in the eye every day and figure out the right message and right training and how we are going to fight our way out of that situation.’


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