Steve Cooper has told his Swansea side to “play with ambition” when trying to stop FA Cup opponents Manchester City setting a new English top-flight record for most consecutive wins.
City beat Liverpool 4-1 at Anfield on Sunday for their 14th successive victory in all competitions, equalling the best winning streak by an English top-tier side.
Pep Guardiola’s Premier League leaders now have the opportunity to eclipse the achievements of Preston in 1891-92 and Arsenal in 1987 in a fifth-round FA Cup tie at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday.
Swansea head coach Cooper said: “Any time you play Man City it’s a massive challenge and we’ve very aware of that.
“We have to be perfect in our game and hope that they are not.
“But the term I have used to the team is to play with ambition and, when we can, play our way.
“I know there are going to be times in the game when we won’t see as much of the ball as we would like and probably the team’s going to be lower on the pitch than we would like.
“But when we do get opportunities to play or to impose our game, we have to commit to it, otherwise there’s no point having a way of playing.”
Swansea have lost just once in 14 games and are third in the Sky Bet Championship, two points behind leaders Norwich with a game in hand after last Friday’s 2-0 win over the Canaries.
Cooper’s side have conceded 15 goals in 27 league games, and only City – 14 in 22 games – have let in fewer goals in the top four divisions of English football this season.
“Sometimes defence is the best form of attack,” Cooper said.
“We just commit to that side of the game, pressing high and show great heart to keep the ball out of our net.
“It’s going to be a big challenge to keep a clean sheet on Wednesday, but why not?
“The mentality we are trying to instil here is a competitive one and a winning one.
“I am not going to every day stand in front of the players and talk about raising standards and belief, and then come to a game and down tools and see it as a free hit. I think that would be wrong.”
City won 3-2 at Swansea, then managed by Graham Potter, two years ago en route to lifting the FA Cup in 2019.
That quarter-final tie was shrouded in controversy as City levelled through a contentious penalty before Sergio Aguero scored a late winner, despite replays indicating he was offside and with VAR not in operation.
Cooper dismissed talk of a Swansea revenge mission, saying: “That’s two years ago and we’re very much a different team now, and so they will be.
“I know there’s a lot of familiar faces and they’ve got the same manager.
“But there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then and we’re not comparing the games, that’s for sure.”