Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin believes there could be “some better moments” ahead for his players as they look to halt an early season slide.
The Swans host unbeaten Manchester City for a second time in four days on Saturday, with Premier League points rather than an EFL Cup last-16 place the target.
And although the Welsh club have gone four games without a win following City’s 2-1 Liberty Stadium triumph, Guidolin took heart from a vastly improved showing after last weekend’s tame 1-0 loss to Southampton.
The manager made eight changes, with the likes of record signing Borja Baston and recalled Wales international Neil Taylor among those who made an impression as Swansea now build towards another City encounter, followed by tackling Liverpool seven days later.
Speculation continues to rage that Guidolin’s reign could prove short-lived – with Ryan Giggs linked with the role – although it is understood that he currently has backing from the Swans’ American owners.
“I am optimistic because I saw my players play a good game,” Guidolin said.
“At Southampton, we deserved to lose. But in this game we started very well, with focus, aggression, intensity and good ball possession.
“We just have to look forward. If we play well and work hard, I think we are going to have some better moments.
“Saturday against Manchester City will be more difficult than this (EFL Cup tie). They had a very good team, even if they played without some players, but on Saturday there will be new important players here.
“But we have to prepare a good game and we have to play well, and then we will see.
“The performance of my team for me was good – in the first half and the second half – but sometimes little things go against you, and in this case it was a deflection on the first goal.”
While Swansea have not claimed a victory in any competition since August 23, Manchester City march on. Another success on Saturday would make it 10 successive wins under new manager Pep Guardiola.
And Gael Clichy, the scorer of City’s opener, agreed with his boss that it had been a good night for City’s young players, whose collective display was highlighted by an assured performance from 19-year-old Aleix Garcia, who added a second goal midway through the second half.
“The first half wasn’t good enough, but in the second half we came back with more desire, so we have to keep playing like this,” Clichy told mancity.com.
“It was a good night for everybody, including the young players. The academy provides some good players, and it’s good for the fans to see the future of the club.
“The victory is the most important thing, and now we can rest and look forward to Saturday.”