I guess Steve Cooper could only state the obvious when he reflected back on a Carabao Cup first round defeat at Newport and declaring us second best may even have felt slightly generous after a display that created more questions than it gave answers.
The Swans were beaten 2-0 at Rodney Parade but that only tells half a story of a game which Newport were in charge of from the earliest moments and made a mockery of the two divisions that separate the two sides as far as league divisions go.
It was not the opening that anybody wanted for the 2020/21 season with the team not just beaten but looking completely out of sorts and with no real direction in terms of how they were likely to turn around the disappointment of conceding a goal within the first ten minutes.
It is easy to think at the moment that it is the introduction of new players which can look to us being so disjointed but the truth is we looked like a side that could still be playing now and would still be facing at least a two goal deficit. From a goalkeeper that looked nervous and indecisive to a defence where players out of position don’t help through a midfield that is still lightweight at best and packed with players seemingly without the steel that we need.
Up front we have some good players but they aren’t prolific and the alarm bells can ring when you consider this was Newport and not any of the sides that we will face in the Championship this season. Add in the fact that it was the hosts first competitive outing for six months and being ‘second best’ tells only half a story.
No excuses. I know we’re only a couple of weeks in, but we’re not going to make any excuses, we were second best.
Every day we work on making sure there is good intensity and a good attitude to our work and there normally is with the players.
I think it is something we are going to have to talk to them about tomorrow to try and get a better understanding of why we weren’t winning duels, why Newport were running more than us, why we weren’t picking up enough second balls, why we weren’t making enough passes – all the things that are required to win a football match. – Steve Cooper
We shouldn’t allow the run to the play offs last season mask some of the concerns we see on the pitch which tell the same story all too often. We talk about working hard in training, doing the right things, correcting the mistakes but none of it actually seems to happen and all too often we do the same things over and over and fail to compete.
What we do know is that we have a squad capable of competing but we have to ensure that they do week in week out and not just when they fancy it and then go missing on days when it just feels a little bit tough.
We don’t just need to improve a little against Preston next week, frankly we need to start all over again with a massive improvement.