New Swansea manager Bob Bradley admitted he had to get “louder and harder” in training this week ahead of his Premier League bow.
Bradley – the first American to manage in English football’s top flight – has been keen to play down his reputation as a hard taskmaster since swapping life in France’s Ligue 2 at Le Havre to become Francesco Guidolin’s successor in south Wales.
But Bradley said he has made his voice heard on the training ground as he attempts to pull Swansea away from relegation danger.
“At the beginning you don’t start with an iron fist with everything, not even close,” Bradley said ahead of his first game at Arsenal on Saturday.
“But there’s been some moments in training this week when I get a little bit louder and harder.
“They’ve been through that, but I try to figure out what works with every guy. I work with everything in the tool box.
“In every situation you want the best way to get your point across, how to connect with the guy. You try different things.
“But even when you’re setting the bar high and being hard, they need to know you’re doing that to make them better.
“They need to understand that I’m going to be on top of you because I think you’re a good player and you have talent.
“When they understand that you’re on board with them you can push them hard and they take it the right way.”
Bradley said he has had an enthusiastic response from a playing squad who have failed to register a win since the opening day of the season.
Internationals Neil Taylor and Jefferson Montero were among those to fall out of favour under Guidolin, and Bradley’s appointment should provide them with a new lease of life at the Liberty Stadium.
But Bradley said: “Whenever there’s a change, at any club, it’s a fresh start for everybody.
“You can see that on certain faces, that’s clear. Even at a time in a season when it’s been difficult, when there’s been managerial change, you see enthusiasm and a certain amount of excitement.
“That doesn’t automatically mean because you’ve changed some things everything’s going to come together right away. But it’s a start.”
Bradley also appears to be more hands-on than his predecessor when it comes to new signings.
Whereas Guidolin stressed he was content to leave recruitment to chairman Huw Jenkins, Bradley confirmed that he has already been involved in talks about January targets.
“So far I haven’t looked too far beyond Saturday but, yes, I did have some conversations with Huw Jenkins,” Bradley said on the topic of recruitment.
“Now I’ve had a chance to speak with Dave Leadbeater (head of recruitment) and our scouts – so that’s all establishing some start points.
“I will be a part of the process. I listen, I have suggestions, but most of the work so far has been digging my hands into the group here and getting to know them.”