11 Feb Ki Sung-yueng: Swans push for safety inspired by two faces of Carlos Carvalhal
Ki Sung-yueng has revealed how the “two faces” of Carlos Carvalhal have inspired Swansea’s push for Premier League safety.
Swansea continued their remarkable renaissance with a 1-0 home win over Burnley on Saturday, Ki striking late on from 20 yards to claim his first goal since May 2016.
Incredibly, Swansea’s 14 points in Carvalhal’s seven games in charge eclipse the 13 that the Portuguese’s predecessor Paul Clement managed in the first 20.
“He is a great gentleman and very witty,” Ki said of former Sheffield Wednesday manager Carvalhal, whose colourful metaphors have brought a sense of fun to the Premier League.
“When you feel some tension, he will tell one of his stories that makes us laugh.
“But when we have to get down to business he becomes very serious.
“He says he has an ‘A’ face and a ‘B’ face, so when we have a laugh it’s great. But when we have to work we also concentrate.
“Tactically all over the pitch he makes everyone work hard, he’s changed the team and that has made a big difference.”
Swansea were bottom of the table and five points adrift of safety when Carvalhal took over in late-December – four days after his two-and-a-half-year spell at Wednesday ended on Christmas Eve.
But successive home wins over Liverpool, Arsenal and Burnley have given Swansea genuine hope that they can avoid relegation.
“The Arsenal and Liverpool games were the big turning points for us and now we don’t think as if we are going to lose games,” Ki said.
“That’s the main point for us, the winning mentality is getting better now.
“To get 14 points from seven games is incredible, but we must keep this atmosphere.
“If we keep this performance (level) until the end of the season then we will stay up.”
Burnley remain in seventh place but are currently on the longest winless streak in the Premier League.
That run was stretched to 10 games at Swansea after the Clarets had shaded the opening hour and Ashley Barnes and Johann Berg Gudmundsson went close to breaking the deadlock.
“We’ve been doing all right and still creating a lot of chances in games,” midfielder Jack Cork said after making a losing return to his former club Swansea.
“We’ve been involved in games that could have gone either way, but we knew a bad run would come at some point.
“What we don’t want to do is let the first half of the season go to waste and just peter out.
“Hopefully we can kick on again and a top-half finish would be amazing, because it would show how much progress we have made.
“That would be a good target for us.”