Swans not sitting ducks for Red Devils

LONDON • Swansea, now under caretaker manager Alan Curtis, have been a bogey team for Manchester United, although the Welsh club have only one away league victory this season.

The Swans have won their last three Premier League matches against United by a 2-1 margin, including at the end of August when they turned the game around by switching from a 4-2-3-1 to a diamond formation at the Liberty Stadium.

They also ruined Louis van Gaal's first game as United manager on the opening day of the 2014-15 season at Old Trafford.

United need goals but netting one may not be straightforward against a Swansea side who have kept clean sheets in each of their last three matches.

Curtis has steadied a side who were plummeting into relegation trouble before Garry Monk was sacked earlier this month. Ajax coach Frank de Boer has been tipped to take over.

Curtis led Swansea to a first victory in eight games as they defeated West Bromwich Albion 1-0 on Boxing Day, and a hard-earned goalless draw at Crystal Palace two days later.

Curtis gambled by making eight changes for the trip to Selhurst Park in order to keep his squad fresh, including three men - Jordi Amat, Matt Grimes and Marvin Emnes - who had not played a single minute of league football all season.

The manager is likely to bring back most of those who were rested on Monday, which would mean recalls for Ki Sung Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Swansea's aim is to marry their defensive meanness to a more prolific attack, as their total of 16 goals from 19 games this season is the second-lowest in the Premier League.

"It is a problem. We need to score more," Curtis said. "It's not necessarily the strikers to blame for that as we need to produce better quality service for the frontmen."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2016, with the headline 'Swans not sitting ducks for Red Devils'. Print Edition | Subscribe