Monk demands strong Swans finish
Published 23/04/2015 | 17:21
Swansea manager Garry Monk has told his players to close out the season in style and secure a top-eight finish in the Barclays Premier League.
Monk's men only need to draw at Newcastle on Saturday to set a new club points record in the Premier League but the Swansea boss wants to achieve more than that with five games of the season remaining.
Swansea currently lie in eighth place on 47 points and Monk's ambition is for them to finish top of what many observers would consider the "best of the rest" with the top seven having opened up a sizeable gap on the clubs below them some time ago.
"Considering everything, top 10 is a fantastic achievement - or it could be a fantastic achievement," Monk said.
"It would be extremely disappointing if we finish outside it now but the greedy side of you wants more.
"Ninth place is the best we've finished but to beat that and finish in eighth in that mini-league in the middle with Stoke, Palace, Everton, West Ham... it would be great to finish on top of that.
"It has to be part of the motivation and something I will remind the players as well."
Swansea missed out on their first opportunity to beat the 47-point mark last weekend when they lost 2-0 to Leicester, who were bottom of the league at the time.
And Monk doesn't want to see a limp finish spoiling an otherwise an excellent campaign, at the start of which many pundits claimed they would struggled and be involved in a relegation battle.
"I put it to the players at the start about beating the club's points record," Monk said.
"I knew I could get the players committed to the work to get ourselves in this position, that is easy to say now but I truly believed with the quality we added in the summer to what we had then we could do something.
"We knew people would say we would struggle and the manager does not have enough experience, but I I knew we could get to this point.
"But the most important thing is we finish it off what we have started and not just crawl across the line.
"It is a five-game period which could define our season in terms of how it is looked upon when it really shouldn't be like that.
"I am aware of that and it is about making the players aware of that."
Monk says he did not expect last weekend's underwhelming defeat at Leicester after victories over Aston Villa and Hull and a draw with Everton had strengthened their hold on eighth spot.
But Swansea were unable to recover from a slow start which saw them fall behind after 15 minutes and Monk has urged them to rediscover the tempo against Newcastle hosts who have lost their last six games.
"It is about performance level now," Monk said. "The points tally matters but we are not saying we need nine points or 12 points, or whatever it may be.
"I would like to break the 50-point barrier and I think that is a realistic and important target for us.
"That is the focus we need to push on with, but performance levels are key.
"Leicester were the first side in the bottom eight we had lost to all season which shows where our mentality has been at, we can't slip from those standards."