Liam Cullen: Swansea City head coach search ‘no excuse’ for players not to perform

Liam Cullen’s equaliser at Coventry was his third goal of the season

Liam Cullen says Swansea City’s players will not use the club’s search for a new head coach as an “excuse”.

The Wales striker, 24, whose free-kick earned a 2-2 draw at Coventry on Friday, says squad unity will get them through this period of uncertainty.

Interim head coach Alan Sheehan is set to take charge of his seventh game as the Swans host promotion contenders West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

“Obviously the situation at the club is what it is,” Cullen said.

“I think it would be easy for us to use it as an excuse. We don’t, because we know the quality we have in the dressing room and performances have shown that, whether it was this season or last.

“The group is largely the same despite the fact we have made a few signings, so we know we have that quality and we know the position we are in is not good enough, we speak about it every day.

“We need to get back to what we are best at and that is dominating the ball, dominating games and beating teams in this league.

“We know we can do it, we have proved we can do it and hopefully (the 2-2 draw at Coventry) is a step in the right direction. We will look to build some momentum into 2024.”

Practice makes perfect

Sheehan, who has won two and drawn two of his six matches at the helm, is expected to be in the dugout again as the club look for a replacement for Michael Duff, who was sacked on 4 December.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Chris Davies was the club’s top target, but the Swans failed in their bid to appoint him.

Cullen finished 2023 on a high with his third goal of the campaign, an injury time free-kick which earned the Swans a point to bounce back from Boxing Day’s 5-0 thrashing at Southampton, managed by former Swansea boss Russell Martin.

Practice made perfect for the striker, who earned his first international cap in Wales’ 4-0 win over Gibraltar, in November.

“Free-kicks are something I practice every single day after training on my own. I try to go down an end that’s free with mannequins – me and Shaun (Baggridge) the kit man – we have been together from the under-23s right through to the first team for a long time,” Cullen said.

“We have always done it together and it was nice to reap the rewards of my practice and to gain the team a point against a really tough side.

“I thought Coventry were really good and their place in the table (12th, with Swansea in 17th) doesn’t really reflect how they are as a team, so delighted with a point in the end.”

Cullenm who was born in Pembrokeshire village Kilgetty and is a product of the Swans academy, believes the bounce-back draw showed the character of the players, which he believes reflects the unity of the squad.

He said: “I think it speaks volumes for the changing room, we have always been a together group, always been good mates off the pitch and do a lot off the pitch and outside the football together.

“Whether it’s in small groups or large as a team, the boys are always doing something and I think that helps on the pitch.

“Obviously Swansea is a unique area, being so far from everywhere we all live in the area. which ultimately helps us.”

On Monday, Swansea, who are 17th in the Championship, will look to put behind them a period of turmoil by kicking off 2024 with a good result against West Brom, who are fifth.

The Baggies won 3-2 at the Hawthorns in August, despite a late Swans rally with goals from Harry Darling and Nathan Wood.

Cullen said: “It was disappointing up there conceding unlucky and silly goals like we did. Obviously one went in off Carl’s (Rushworth) head and we gave away a penalty as well.

“We scored two goals away from home and once we went that third goal down we really showed what we are about.

“Hopefully we can do it from the start on New Year’s Day and we can kick the year off in style.”


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