Swansea V Southampton at Liberty Stadium: LIVE

13 February 2016 08:58
Swansea V Southampton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Francesco Guidolin keen to see Italian influence on Swansea defence

Swansea must learn the Italian art of defending to continue their climb up the Barclays Premier League table, says head coach Francesco Guidolin.

The Swans are unbeaten in Guidolin's three games in charge with draws against West Brom and Crystal Palace following his his opening-day victory at Everton.

It is a run which has taken Swansea four points above the drop zone, but Guidolin admits to a sense of frustration over his first few weeks at the Liberty Stadium.

The three goals Swansea have conceded have all come from set-pieces, and the former Parma and Udinese coach wants his side to learn a few lessons from Serie A in his native Italy.

"Defending set-pieces is not a situation that's easy to improve, but the most important thing is to have attention and be focused," Guidolin said ahead of Southampton's visit on Saturday.

"In training sessions that's easy, but in the matches it has not been easy for us.

"You have to be strong, but above all you have to be focused.

"It's not a question of power. Many players in Italy are not strong, but they are clever, intelligent and focused on marking.

"Here it's more difficult because many teams have many big players, but the focus is the most important thing."

Guidolin says the Swansea staff and players have worked hard on the training ground this week to address the team's set-piece problems.

But it is an area that Ronald Koeman's Saints will undoubtedly target with Graziano Pelle, Shane Long and Charlie Austin all providing aerial threats, as well as centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Jose Fonte.

"The only method I know is to work because it's our problem," Guidolin said.

"I am not a magician. I know Swansea had this problem in the past.

"But I hope to improve this season.

"We watch videos, we work on the training pitch and we teach the players."

Leroy Fer will be hoping to make his Swansea debut following his deadline-day move from QPR.

Meanwhile, Southampton manager Koeman did not punish Victor Wanyama despite picking up a third red card of the season last weekend.

The 24-year-old will miss Saturday's trip after being shown a straight red card for a challenge on West Ham's Dimitri Payet.

Wanyama will miss a further four matches as it was his third sending off this season - all of which have come since November - but Koeman believes the midfielder was unlucky to be dismissed this time.

"We did (discipline him) after the second yellow card (in the 1-0 defeat to Norwich in January) but we did not this time," he said. "I think Victor was a little bit unlucky.

"In my opinion, that red card was totally different to the second yellow, for example, against Norwich. In my opinion, that was more of a stupid foul.

"Now he was unlucky because his intention really was to play the ball. He missed the ball and the referee took a hard decision.

"One day later I saw a tackle from (Mathieu) Flamini against Bournemouth and it was yellow. Maybe that tackle was more red than the tackle of Wanyama."

Wanyama was understandably disappointed and frustrated with a red card that Koeman believes the midfielder needs to learn from.

"He was angry, he was disappointed because he knew about the five-match suspension," he said

"He was really showing to be disappointed and he said to me that he was unlucky because his intention was to play the ball.

"I have sympathy for honest players and Victor is one of them.

"His intention is to play the ball but it was his third one and he has to learn. If you don't learn from this, then you never learn and he has to learn that sometimes you cannot take that risk.

"We always tell defenders 'stay on your feet, do not make that tackle' and he is strong enough to use his body to win the battle."

Saints welcome Matt Targett and Steven Davis back from injury for their game with Swansea.

Source: PAR