(Reuters) - Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup has pinpointed the next six matches as crucial to his hopes of arresting a slump in form that has left the side languishing in 15th place in the Premier League, just three points above the relegation zone.
A 3-1 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday extended Swansea's run of poor league form to eight matches without a win, a far cry from last season's impressive ninth place finish and a first major trophy, the Capital One Cup.
Swansea's small squad has been hampered by its participation in the Europa League, while injuries meant they were missing Michu, Jonathan de Guzman, Jose Canas, Pablo Hernandez, Nathan Dyer and first-choice goalkeeper Michel Vorm against Spurs.
Since beating Newcastle on December 4, Swansea have endured a tough run of fixtures including matches against Everton, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Spurs, all of whom are battling for honours in the top half of the table.
However, they play fellow strugglers Fulham, West Ham United, Cardiff City, Stoke City and Crystal Palace in five of their next six matches with Laudrup keen to highlight the importance of that particular string of fixtures.
"We don't need much to turn things round," he told the club's official website (www.swanseacity.net).
"If we were playing poor all the time or if players are worried about having the ball, it would be a much more difficult job.
"The only ones who can change this is ourselves and by winning games. We won at Old Trafford (in the FA Cup), but it wasn't in this competition.
"There are a lot of other teams in our situation, at least with the points.
"From tomorrow, there will be six points separating 10th position to 20th, and in the next six games, we play five direct opponents.
"The next six games will decide whether we suffer until the end of the season. The next four, especially, are key games.
"If we win the next couple of games, it can all change and it will give the whole team confidence."
Swansea started brightly against Tottenham but fell behind on 35 minutes to Emmanuel Adebayor's close-range header.
Chico Flores turned a cross into his own net soon after halftime followed by Adebayor's second 19 minutes before time.
Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony was Swansea's one bright spot in an otherwise disappointing performance, and after hitting the crossbar in the first half, he scored his seventh league goal of the season with 12 minutes left.
Laudrup said the outcome could have been very different had his side been able to score when they were on the front foot early in the match.
"The players showed a great attitude and performance, dominating for half an hour against a good side.
"We had a couple of good chances, some really good shots from Bony, but the first chance they have they score.
"I knew if we didn't score when we were doing well, this could happen. It's about getting that goal in the right moment."
(Writing By Josh Reich; Editing by John O'Brien)