Monk happy to have survived 'scare'
Published 02/05/2014 | 18:42
Garry Monk readily accepts that Swansea have suffered a "scare" in the Barclays Premier League this season.
The Swans go into their final home game of the campaign against Southampton on Saturday, knowing they are safe from relegation worries.
But they only left the danger zone behind them after posting successive victories against Newcastle and Aston Villa last month.
"It is a season we have learnt loads from," Swansea head coach Monk said.
"You need to go through tough times to improve as players and as a club, to have that scare that we have had over recent months.
"It is important that we learn from it. A lot of the players had never experienced relegation troubles and the pressure that comes with it. It is a totally different pressure to playing where we have been in recent years.
"That will stand them and the club in really good stead. I think the club has had a scare this season, there is no two ways about it. It is something we've not had for 10 years."
A 4-1 demolition of Villa ensured Swansea's top-flight status for another campaign, and while Monk must now wait to see if he will gain board level approval as Michael Laudrup's long-term managerial successor, it is a case of mission accomplished with regard to staying up.
"You can just see the cloud lifted, not just with the players and the staff, but around the city. I think everyone has got smiles on their faces," he added.
"We realise there are still two games to go, that there is a job to do, and we want to break that 40-point barrier.
"For the standards that we've set, we want better. The way we have progressed over the last 10 years, the expectation level is much higher than what we are right now.
"If we can break that 40-point barrier now - the so-called special total - that's the aim.
"It has been a very long season. If you are a neutral, it has probably been the best season in the Premier League's history. With bizarre results here and there and different situations on and off the field, it has made for good viewing.
"It's been a very long season. Ultimately, I don't think disappointing is the right term, but football changes so quickly.
"The two results we've just had changes the whole complexion, but if we can finish in the 40 points bracket then it would be hard to say it has been disappointing.
"All I care about is that the team does as well as possible and you get the maximum out of every single player."
Mauricio Pochettino has been proud of Southampton's performances on the road this season and wants an equally expressive display from his players as they look to break the club's record Premier League points haul at Swansea.
Eighth place is all-but assured with two matches remaining of what has been a fine second campaign back in the top-flight for the St Mary's club.
The season ends with a home match against Manchester United and first up is a trip to south Wales to take on Garry Monk's side, who will be wary of Southampton's impressive away record.
Saints' six victories on the road already surpassed the club's previous best and a positive result would see Pochettino's men set a new record return from a 38-game campaign, having levelled the 52-point record last weekend.
"I think we've done very well playing away from home," Saints boss Pochettino said.
"We've actually achieved a record number of victories that we've achieved away and the most important thing overall is that we've played well away and played in the same way.
"I think we've played with personality, we've played with a lot of maturity when playing both at home and away.
"We've played in the same way and that's something that should be highlighted because the team has shown both away and at home a maturity, and we're a team that can play with personality.
"There were many good games over the course of the entire season.
"I would say for example in the games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Fulham, and Hull.
"We've achieved many good results, but I would choose the game against Crystal Palace as the best because we showed a lot of character in that match, a lot of maturity a lot of personality. "
Saints were 2-0 victors in the reverse fixture in October, although to complete the double they will have to win in Swansea for the first time since 1962.
Southampton will travel to south Wales without Gaston Ramirez, Maya Yoshida and Kelvin Davis.
Top-scorer Jay Rodriguez is also out injured, while Saints need to assess the fitness of Morgan Schneiderlin and Rickie Lambert.