Monk happy with Chico response
Published 13/02/2014 | 07:17
Swansea manager Garry Monk believes Chico Flores is revelling in the role of villain after watching him overcome the boo-boys to clinch a point from a 1-1 draw at Stoke.
Chico deftly flicked home a 52nd-minute equaliser at a windswept Britannia Stadium to cancel out Peter Crouch's 17th-minute opener.
It will at least guarantee him a few good headlines given all the bad press he has recently attracted.
He was apparently involved in a training ground bust-up last month with Monk, who later insisted the incident had been blown out of all proportion.
Chico was then at the heart of the storm that led to West Ham's desperate bid to overturn a three-game ban for striker Andy Carroll after the two clashed in a 2-0 defeat for the Swans, with the defender over-reacting to a challenge.
Waxing lyrical about Chico now, Monk said: "He was my man of the match. I thought he was absolutely magnificent, a rock, solid.
"Everything you want from a defender he gave it, and the goal was a bonus on top. It was a great header.
"I thought he was everything, he really led well from the back.
"When you see someone like that it gives the team a lift, and the players at the back need someone like that next to them because it then elevates their game.
"And especially with the way the crowd were with him from the first minute. I thought it inspired him more than anything."
The Stoke fans often booed Chico, which caught Monk by surprise, adding: "I didn't really expect it.
"But if he can play like that then keep doing it. The more they do it and he plays like that, then great."
Asked whether Chico had been unfairly vilified of late, Monk said: "We all love a villain, and he'll probably like it, as we saw here.
"He stuck to his game, didn't let it affect him, kept it simple, and I thought he was a Colossus at the back for us.
"As for the rest, Chico's big enough to deal with anything. He's going to get stick for this and that.
"If there are certain things I have to chat with him about, then I will, but he's his own man, and he's old enough to know when he's made mistakes and if he's not behaving correctly."
Monk felt the Swans could have had all three points from a game that only went ahead after passing two pre-match safety inspections due to the gale-force winds beforehand which ultimately subsided before kick-off.
"You should always be disappointed with a draw," said Monk.
"You always want to win, to be greedy, which is the way you need to be, the mentality you have to have.
"But I'm not grumbling with a point, I can't, not with our history here and as good a team as Stoke are."
In contrast, Stoke boss Mark Hughes felt his side were fortunate to come away with a point.
"We got our noses in front and hoped to go on from that, but we never really did. Performance-wise it wasn't one of our better ones," said Hughes.
"On reflection, I'm disappointed given our lack of control in the game, and we've been better than that at the Britannia."
Hughes did feel a couple of penalty decisions went against his side, with Crouch seemingly clipped by Chico and a potential Wilfied Bony handball.
Hughes added: "They were two big decisions that could have gone for us, but it would have been a little unfair on Swansea.
"They had further chances to score, with Asmir (Begovic) making a couple of great saves, and Ryan (Shawcross) clearing one off the line."