Swansea must retain focus says Leon Britton
Friday 10 February 2012
Swansea may head into tomorrow's Barclays Premier League meeting with Norwich sitting in the top half of the table, but midfielder Leon Britton has warned his team-mates they cannot afford to let their focus slip between now and the end of the season.
The Swans and the Canaries have confounded pre-season expectations that they would make a swift return to the Championship, and both are currently on track for comfortable mid-table finishes as they enter this weekend 10th and ninth in the standings respectively.
Last weekend's 2-1 win at West Brom moved Brendan Rodgers' side 10 points clear of the drop zone, and victory over Paul Lambert's visitors would further extend that margin, but Britton is adamant that the Welsh club cannot afford to take their foot of the gas until survival is mathematically assured.
The 29-year-old said: "Our main aim is to survive in the league. That was always the main priority. We are 10th but we need to take one games at a time. We can't afford to get too far ahead of ourselves.
"There was no points target at the start of the season and even now, the gaffer doesn't say anything.
"He just asks us to keep our standards up in training and to play as we did at West Brom last weekend.
"I don't think we can look any further than our performances, because if we perform to our level, we would hope to win a few of the remaining 14 games."
Britton admits he has been delighted to see Swansea and Norwich do so well this term, proving the strength of the Championship by sticking with the majority of the squads that secured promotion.
"All credit to both sides," he said.
"We are in February and tomorrow's game is a mid-table match. I don't think too may would have predicted that at the beginning of the season.
"Both clubs deserve credit. They are hungry and though they have added some players, there have not been wholesale changes."
The meeting between the two sides at Carrow Road earlier this season was one of the few major disappointments Swansea have suffered, as a below-par display resulted in a 3-1 reverse.
But an excellent recent run of results, which included wins over Arsenal and West Brom and draws with Tottenham and Chelsea, has moved them up the table and helped Rodgers, who has agreed a new three-and-a-half year contract, win the January manager of the month award.
Britton acknowledges the defeat in East Anglia was a rare low this season, but insists revenge is not on the agenda at the Liberty Stadium.
"We are not looking at revenge this weekend," he said.
"We were very disappointed with how the game went up there but it's not about revenge, it's about us focusing on our own performance.
"Although, having said that, you don't want someone to do the double over you.
"Last season we did well against them, but both squads have kicked on from then."
After being knocked out of the FA Cup by Bolton, Swansea are looking to make the most of a gap weekend in their calendar by going for a week of training in Tenerife following tomorrow's match.
And Britton, who has played for the club in all four divisions of the league pyramid, says the trip is a sign of how far the club has come since they were threatened with going out of business and going out of the Football League in the early part of the new millennium.
"We have a weekend off, so even if we stay in Wales we would be leading to a game with no games," he said.
"It's nice because in League Two we didn't get a trip to Tenby let alone Tenerife.
"I don't know if the chairman would have paid for Butlins back then, but we will make the most of Tenerife."
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