Big names leave Swansea

Swansea City manager Graham Potter has released five members of his first-team squad, including Leroy Fer, Wayne Routledge and Wilfried Bony.

Martin Olsson and Luciano Narsingh have also been allowed to leave the Swans after seeing their contracts come to an end.

Routledge made 260 appearances for the club and scored 27 goals in his seven years at the Liberty Stadium. He was part of the team that won the League Cup 2013.

Fer scored 10 goals in 101 appearances for the Swans after initially joining the club on loan from QPR in February 2016, while Bony has been allowed to leave after enduring a very disappointing second spell in south Wales.

In his first stint with Swansea, Bony scored 25 goals in 54 league appearances before moving to Manchester City for £28million in January 2015.

However, he failed to impress in the north-west and was loaned out to Stoke City before returning to the Swans two years ago. The 30-year-old only started nine league matches in his second spell with the club though and spent four months on loan with Qatar club Al-Arabi this season.

Olsson joined the club from Norwich City in January 2017 but the left-back has not played since rupturing his Achilles five months ago, while Dutch winger Narsingh leaves after scoring two goals in 40 appearances since arriving from PSV Eindhoven in January 2017.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa and Derby County will meet in the Championship play-off final on Monday 27th May. The Villans are 8/13 to secure promotion, with the Rams available at 13/10.

Potter pleased for McBurnie

Graham Potter has backed Oli McBurnie to improve his goal tally next season even though the Swansea City striker has enjoyed an excellent 2018/19 campaign.

The 22-year-old scored twice against Hull City at the weekend and now has 21 Championship goals to his name this term.

McBurnie is the first Swans player to score 20 league goals in a Championship season since Scott Sinclair in 2010/11 but Potter thinks there is much more to come from the Scotland international.

"There is nothing wrong with a record like that, but I think Oli can do better and I think he can improve," said Potter.

"He has done great for us, he absolutely has, but the exciting thing for him, and I am sure he will say the same, is he can get better again.

"When it comes to first-team football he will only improve if he keeps working in the way I think he can. He has to keep working, I think his overall game can improve. That's not a criticism, he is a young guy who is not yet at the peak of his profession."

McBurnie moved to the Liberty Stadium from Bradford City in the summer of 2015 and was loaned out to Newport County, Bristol Rovers and Barnsley before becoming a first-team regular this season.

Swansea are 9/5 to beat Derby County on Wednesday with McBurnie 5/1 to be the first goalscorer. The Rams are 11/2 to be promoted this season.

Guardiola praises Citizens spirit

Pep Guardiola hailed the mentality of his Manchester City side after they hit back to secure a 3-2 victory at Swansea City and reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

The Citizens were 2-0 behind at half-time at the Liberty Stadium, before they launched a stirring comeback, with a Bernardo Silva drive and an own goal drawing them level, before Sergio Aguero headed in what proved to be the winner.

And Guardiola was delighted to see such a strong response from his players, with City still in the hunt for a possible quadruple this season.

He told BBC Sport: "Fighting for everything is the most important thing for the club.

"People say we are going to win three or four titles and the day we drop one competition they say it's a big failure for Manchester City.

"The most incredible thing after what we achieved last season, is in this stage we are fighting for everything.

"So, most important for the club – more than winning one title – is having the mentality to be there until the end and fight for the titles in this stage of the season.

"That's important because for the future, for the new players and managers who are coming, they will learn from this group of players, and this group of people – that we never give up and fight for every single game and title until the end.

"That is the best lesson."

The Citizens can be backed at 2/5 to lift the FA Cup this season, while they are 4/11 to retain their Premier League title and 2/1 to triumph in the Champions League for the first time in their history.

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Potter urges Swans to believe

Swansea City boss Graham Potter is hoping his side can spring a major shock in their 'one-off' clash with Manchester City in the sixth round of the FA Cup.

The Swans play host to the reigning Premier League champions at teatime on Saturday, with Potter well aware of the gulf in class which exists between the two teams.

However, he is hoping to see his players rise to the occasion at the Liberty Stadium, with the hosts currently down in 15th place in the Championship standings.

Potter said: "Clearly they are the best team in the UK, they are one of the best teams in the world. So we face a huge challenge, a brilliant challenge for the players, because you get to test yourself against the best.

"In a one-off match anything can happen and we will try to manufacture something from that. We have a chance to get to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, which is exciting.

"You have to go into the game thinking you can win, otherwise there is no point.

"You respect how good the opposition are and the odds are stacked against us, but it's a one-off game – you have to believe you can win."

Last season the Citizens won 4-0 in the Premier League meeting of the two sides in South Wales, while the encounter at the Etihad Stadium finished 5-0 to the hosts.

The men from Manchester are 1/8 to win the game on Saturday in normal time and are 11/2 to do so by a 3-0 scoreline.

Meanwhile the Citizens can be backed at 4/5 to lift the FA Cup this season and win the trophy for the sixth time in their history.

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Silva eyeing up silverware

Midfielder Bernardo Silva is eager to win more silverware in the future, having signed a contract extension with Manchester City which runs until the summer of 2025.

The 24-year-old Portugal international joined the Citizens in the summer of 2017 and has since scored 18 goals in 93 appearances in all competitions, helping City to win the Premier League title last season.

He has also enjoyed success in the League Cup both this season and last and is determined to add to his medal tally in the coming campaigns.

He told his club's official website: "It's an honour to extend my deal with Manchester City. This club offers everything a player needs to fulfil their ambitions and there's nowhere else I want to be.

"As soon as I heard City wanted me to stay longer, my mind was made up. I love the club, the manager, the players and the fans.

"The style of football we play here excites me and I am determined to win more trophies. City gives me the best chance of doing that."

City are back in action at teatime on Saturday when they head to South Wales to take on Swansea City in an FA Cup quarter-final tie.

The men from Manchester are unbeaten in their last 13 meetings with the Swans and have won the last five matches between the two sides.

The Citizens can be backed at 1/7 to win the game in 90 minutes and are 11/2 to secure a 2-0 victory in normal time, with Pep Guardiola's side 4/5 to go all the way and lift the FA Cup this season.

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Potter eyes consistent run

Graham Potter remains convinced his Swansea City team can put together a good run of results and secure a place in the Championship play-offs.

The Swans are currently seven points adrift of the top six and face a tough run of fixtures against Norwich City, West Brom and Nottingham Forest.

Potter said: "Anybody that can consistently win between now and the end of the season puts themselves in a very strong position, because there are plenty of points still to play for.

"It's obvious that if you can win a lot of games on the spin you can move up the table quite quickly and in a big way. Everyone will be saying the same thing, that's the nature of the Championship.

"If you look at our games between now and the end of the season, there are a lot in a small space of time and it's whether you can get on a run and get some momentum. If you could pick a time to do it, the time is now."

Swansea have not won more than two games in a row this season and are 50/1 to be promoted this season, while Norwich City can be backed at 1/5 to go up and Leeds United at 4/11.

One game at a time for Potter

Swansea City manager Graham Potter insists he is not thinking about Wembley and is only interested in beating Brentford on Sunday.

The two mid-table Championship sides meet at the Liberty Stadium with a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at stake.

The Swans reached the sixth round last term but were beaten 3-0 by Tottenham and were eventually relegated from the Premier League.

Potter's team look set to finish in mid-table in the Championship this season but can be backed at 10/11 to beat the Bees and reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for only the fifth time in their 107-year history.

"That is a surprising stat to me," admitted Potter. "But we cannot think too much about that, we have to focus on the game which presents a big enough challenge against a team I have a lot of respect for.

"What dominates my thinking is how we can win the next match, we can't worry about what might happen or what might be. You just have to try and win.

"I am a million miles away from thinking about Wembley. I have far too much respect for Brentford and what they do to think about anything other than how we can beat them."

Swansea are available at 13/2 to beat Brentford by a two-goal margin and 100/1 to win the FA Cup outright this season.

Potter keen to end losing run

Graham Potter knows that it will not be easy for his Swansea City team to end their losing run when they visit Brentford on Saturday.

The Swans have lost their last three games and have slipped to 13th in the Championship table.

They are 11/4 to beat the Bees at Griffin Park and 33/1 to be promoted to the Premier League at the first time of asking following last season's relegation.

Brentford have struggled since former manager Dean Smith was named as Aston Villa's boss in October and they are 17th in the table.

Thomas Frank succeeded Smith as Bees boss and his side managed to draw 1-1 at West Brom earlier this week.

"I think it will be an exciting game," Potter said. "I watched Brentford play live against West Brom. They had a bit of luck in the first half, when West Brom had a few chances, but you could see their qualities – especially with the ball.

"They have a pattern of play and a clear identity. Perhaps they are having a bit of a transition after Dean left to take over at Aston Villa, but Griffin Park is always a tough place to go.

"It is a tight ground and the crowd will be right on top of us. But we have to deal with that. We will go there looking to win the game."

Ki influence key for Benitez

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez believes the influence of midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng has been crucial to his team registering back-to-back Premier League victories.

The Magpies failed to win any of their first ten league games this season, before securing a 1-0 win at home to Watford and a 2-1 home success against Bournemouth to move clear of the drop zone and significantly raise spirits on Tyneside.

And Benitez has spoken of the part played by Ki, who joined the Magpies from Swansea City in the summer.

He told The Chronicle: "When we signed him we knew he was a player who is quite good on the ball.

"He can pass well and make the right decisions, that is important for us. He has experience too and I think he has more composure on the ball.

"I think when you aren't doing well and not winning games it is more difficult to play.

"For players it is difficult because if they make a couple of mistakes you don't want to be involved because maybe you will make another one. I encourage them to try and try again.

"The experience of Ki, and the other players who can play with that confidence, can help when we have the ball in making the right decisions or better decisions than in the past."

Following the international break, Newcastle are back in action on the evening of Monday 26th November, when they head to Turf Moor to take on Burnley.

The visitors are 11/5 to claim a draw against the Clarets and are 7/1 to secure a 1-0 victory, with Newcastle 1/4 not to be relegated this season.

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Potter: We’re a work in progress

Graham Potter insists his Swansea City side are moving in the right direction even though their record at the Liberty Stadium so far this season has been poor.

After suffering relegation from the Premier League last term, the Swans are 15th in the Championship table and have only won two of their six home league games.

They face Blackburn Rovers, who beat Leeds United on Saturday, next and are 6/5 to beat Tony Mowbray's team while Swansea are 14/1 to be promoted this season.

Potter's side, who have lost their last two matches against Aston Villa and Ipswich Town, are 9/1 to beat Rovers 2-0.

"There are some big teams in this division and every game is difficult – it's a tough league," said the Swans boss. "But I think we are taking steps forward.

"The attitude and the commitment of the players has been fantastic which is very pleasing, but we know we still have things to work on.

"We are certainly not the finished article. We are one of the youngest teams in the division and we are still a work in progress, but I do feel we are moving in the right direction.

"We have to keep working hard and keep focusing on our performances. If we do that, the results will follow."