Criticized for how he talks, Bob Bradley focused on turning Swansea's fortunes

Associated Press
Thursday December 22nd, 2016

It seems Bob Bradley is being judged on more than just results during his first coaching stint in the English Premier League.

Swansea's American manager knows he is under scrutiny for the vocabulary he is using, too.

Bradley arrived at the Welsh club in October aware that he would have to live with British "snobbery" over the terminology used by Americans in soccer, and that his nationality would bring preconceptions about his credentials for the job.

Asked Thursday whether he was concerned about the attention he was getting for using terms like "PK" for penalty kick and "road games" for away games, Bradley said it was "part of the deal" of working in a country that invented the game.

"Ninety-five percent of my football vocab fits without any question," Bradley said at a pre-match news conference. "Every now and then, there's something that comes out. It wouldn't make sense if I sounded exactly like everybody else."

Bradley didn't appear unhappy about being questioned over his occasional Americanisms, and spoke at length about how he uses phrases picked up from spells coaching in various countries around the world, including France and Norway.

"I had German-coaching friends that use the word 'forechecking,' in terms of pressing," he said. "It's a hockey word, a hockey phrase, but they use that. When I was in Norway, the organization of a team when you have the ball, they call it offensive marking, some places call that rest defense. Football vocabulary has phrases that come from different places.

"Look, when I'm speaking normally, I talk about home form, away form, but there is a part in American sports (for example) if the San Antonio Spurs have a bad game playing outside of San Antonio (head coach), Greg Popovich will say sometimes, 'We're not good enough on the road.' So, yeah, every now and then, a little bit of that comes out of me, but not too much."

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Bradley used an example from when he was coaching at French second-tier club Le Havre and he told reporters of the importance of his team keeping a clean sheet.

"They looked at me and said, 'What's a clean sheet?'" Bradley said, smiling. "This is football."

Bradley is more concerned about Swansea's form on the field than what he is saying off it.

The team is next-to-last in the Premier League standings, only above Hull on goal difference, going into a stretch of three games in a nine-day span over the festive period.

Swansea has won two of its 10 matches since Bradley took over.

Asked if his future at Swansea hinged on its next two games—at home to West Ham on Monday and Bournemouth on Dec. 31—Bradley said: "Maybe. I never know how that works and I don't spend much time thinking about it.

"I think we've had moments along the way when we thought we were close to taking a big step forward. We've left some points on the table in those 10 games and that would make the discussion different."

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