Sunday 23 October 2016

Garry Monk urges players to put Swansea first

Published 03/10/2015 | 12:06

Garry Monk, pictured, is a big fan of Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino
Garry Monk, pictured, is a big fan of Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino

Garry Monk has told his players to forget about impending international duty as Swansea seek to get their season back on track against Tottenham on Sunday.

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After making an excellent start to the campaign in which they took eight points from their first four Barclays Premier League games, including drawing at Chelsea and beating Manchester United at home, Swansea have not won since the last international break.

They have picked up only one point from three league games, a goalless home draw with Everton sandwiched between defeats at Watford and Southampton, and also crashed out of the Capital One Cup to Sky Bet Championship club Hull.

And Swansea manager Monk feels the effects of international football on his cosmopolitan squad has played its part in their struggles over the past month.

"This year is different to any other what with the TV rights and the players trying to fight for international places and qualification," Monk said.

"I have to make sure that all the focus is on Swansea and what we are doing here. We need to make sure all of these things are left elsewhere and that we concentrate on Sunday.

"There is already (media) talk about the international break coming up, the squad announcements, and who could qualify for what.

"Those debates are happening while we are still playing games for Swansea and it's understandable the players should be thinking about those things.

"But the players have to be very clear, and I've spoken to them about this, that anything before those matches is all about Swansea City.

"I feel the last international break had a little effect on our performances and consistency, and the players are now aware of that."

Swansea are far from being alone in having players on international duty but Andre Ayew and Ki Sung-yueng travelled more than most during the last break at the start of September.

Others like Wales pair Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor and Iceland playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson have invested a lot of emotion in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

"You would have to be superhuman for that not to affect you," Monk said in the wake of Iceland having qualified for their first major tournament and Wales on the brink of doing so for the first time in 58 years.

"But the players need to understand that in the club it is back to focusing on your job. That is what gets you to the other things.

"The only reason why people talk about international football is because of how well people are playing for their club.

"It's understandable that friends, family, agents and the media are all talking about other things. But they are a distraction and we should be good enough to deal with all that and focus on Swansea City."

Press Association

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