Swans look for guiding light out of drop zone

LONDON • Caretaker player-manager Leon Britton expects to lead Swansea out at Anfield tomorrow as the club continue to search for a permanent boss.

The Premier League's bottom club started life without sacked manager Paul Clement by drawing 1-1 at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday. And Britton is set to be on the touchline when the Swans take on Liverpool.

"I haven't heard anything new," he said of the possibility of a permanent manager coming in, with Frank de Boer and Slaven Bilic being touted as the favourites.

"I spoke to the chairman and owners on Friday, but not since the full-time whistle. Whether anything changes, I don't know.

"We're ready to be in training and prepare for Liverpool until I'm told anything different."

The 35-year-old, asked to take charge of the first team on a "day-by-day" basis, replaced Luciano Narsingh with Jordan Ayew in the 66th minute and his first substitution worked a treat.

The forward smashed the ball into the bottom left corner from outside the box in the 77th minute, cancelling out Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic's second-half penalty.

"That worked out OK, didn't it? I was delighted for Jordan," said Britton. "The character the players showed after going 1-0 down was brilliant and I'm very proud of them for the effort they've given me, not just today, but the last couple of days in difficult circumstances."

Despite the point, Swansea remain rooted to the foot of the table.

Only three clubs have ever survived relegation from England's top tier after being bottom at Christmas (West Brom in 2004-05, Sunderland in 2013-14 and Leicester in 2014-15).

Palace are unbeaten in their last eight league games under manager Roy Hodgson - a club record - but face a tough festive schedule, with games against Arsenal and Manchester City at home tomorrow and Sunday respectively.

"It's a point that helps in our fight to move away from the relegation zone," said Hodgson, whose side are 16th on 18 points - two points clear of the drop zone.

"Given the circumstances, given the way the game panned out, we need not be too unhappy."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2017, with the headline 'Swans look for guiding light out of drop zone'. Print Edition | Subscribe