First TeamFirst team coach arrives - set piece problem resolved?

First team coach arrives – set piece problem resolved?

The Swans have recruited a set piece specialist in the shape of AFC Wimbledon’s Andy Purslow after last season’s failure to score from a single corner or free kick.

In another positive summer move, Purslow arrives after great success at Wimbledon which saw the club enhance its strength from set piece plays.

Whilst the club was relegated from League One, Purslow attracted much praise and was attracting attention from the media prior to the Dons’ trip to Arsenal in the Carabao Cup last season.

The club scored an incredible nine goals from set plays from the start of the campaign until the end of September – something that no other club within the four tiers of English football had achieved.

He told Wimbledon TV in March 2021: “Every time the ball goes dead, that’s when I’m getting to work – throw ins, free kicks, corners, kick offs. I want to start looking at goal kicks as well.

“It’s for and against, the attacking and defensive side of it. It’s just about marginal gains. I looked at things last summer and the average conversion rate for corners was just under 2.5%, which was next to nothing.

“The best team in the League last season were Rotherham, who scored 12 goals from their corners, meaning they were up at 5%.

“If we can make a 2 or 3% difference, three, four or five more goals from corners, it turns draws into wins, losses into draws. It’s taking care of the small details and doing everything I can to try and help us be as best as we can be.”

Russell Martin was also delighted with his signing: “It’s an area we need to improve on.

“Andy has real expertise in that area and has had great results with his previous club.

“He was really enthusiastic from the off, and we spoke to quite a few people about that role.

“We had been looking at what we wanted to do around the first-team staff to support us and the players, and I really think it is going to help us.

“He really impressed us when we spoke to him, he presented to us his ideas on our set pieces from last year and he had done a lot of research and work on that.

“It’s a clear area that can make the difference, and we have to be better at it. I think if you look at Huddersfield and Luton’s record from set pieces last season, that played a big part in them getting to where they did in the league.

“We scored a lot of goals from open play last year which was brilliant, but now we need to add something else to our armoury and that is set pieces.

“It’s the mentality around them, the time and effort that goes into analysing opposition weaknesses and strengths, as well as identifying ours and making sure we’ve got something that works.”

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Rob Davies
East Stand season ticket holder since 2007 and a small part of Planet Swans since 2021.

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