McBurnie urges Swansea to build on Watford win
Oli McBurnie has challenged Swansea to start 2018 the way they finished 2017 as they attempt to drag themselves up the Premier League table.
The Swans climbed briefly from the bottom of the pile after Saturday’s 2-1 win at Watford, only to slip back barely 24 hours later following West Brom’s battling 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
Carlos Carvalhal’s men know the degree of difficulty will increase markedly on Tuesday evening when they welcome high-flying Tottenham – who have not played since Boxing Day – to the Liberty Stadium, but McBurnie is hoping a significant corner has been turned.
The 21-year-old told the club’s official website, www.swanseacity.com: “Belief and confidence are some of the main things we need to re-install in our game in 2018.
“The luck has gone against us at times this season, but I think that changed a little with Saturday’s win. We have to push on from here and take the belief from Watford into the Tottenham game.
“It will be a very tough game, but it’s a challenge we can look forward to in front of our home fans. We have to use Watford as a platform and build on it and continue to go from strength to strength.”
Saturday’s win was just the second in 13 league games for Swansea, who have collected only eight of the 39 points on offer during that period.
It left them three points adrift of safety, but with Liverpool and Arsenal both due in South Wales after a trip to fellow strugglers Newcastle, the next few weeks could prove intensely testing.
However, after helping his side to come from behind to win at Vicarage Road – they trailed 1-0 with just four minutes remaining – McBurnie is hopeful they have got what it takes to get themselves out of trouble.
He said: “Confidence is a big factor for us. We looked a different side after scoring the equaliser, but we can’t let our heads drop if we go behind.
“We need to keep our confidence as high as possible to climb out of the relegation zone.”
Carvalhal will make a late check on Tammy Abraham, who is struggling with a stomach muscle injury, while fellow striker Wilfried Bony is battling a hamstring problem.
Full-back Kyle Naughton will be missing as he begins a three-match ban after accepting a Football Association charge of violent conduct for a stamp on Watford’s Stefano Okaka.
Harry Kane must shake off a cold to be fit in time for Tottenham’s trip to the Liberty Stadium.
Kane missed training on Friday but has continued to be assessed, with boss Mauricio Pochettino hopeful he could be ready for the Swansea encounter.
Pochettino, meanwhile, believes Dele Alli can hit top form in 2018 but cannot always be expected to produce “unbelievable” moments.
“Dele has been good in the last few games, he’s started to improve,” said Pochettino.
“And we’ve started to recognise the player again who has achieved so much in the last two seasons.
“For me there’s no doubt about his quality and potential.
“But because he’s young, he needs to breathe sometimes, take some time, then again perform in the same way.
“From day one when he started to play here at Tottenham and achieve, not one other young player of his age (has achieved as much). Not Cristiano Ronaldo, not Frank Lampard, not Wayne Rooney, massive players, great players – he has achieved more than all those big names.
“The problem is the expectation. We expect from him in every touch, every action, unbelievable things. And sometimes that’s not possible.”