Monk revels in derby success
Published 09/02/2014 | 14:42
Garry Monk admits winning a south Wales derby as head coach has topped his success in the fixture as a player.
Monk's bow as Swansea head coach, following the midweek sacking of Michael Laudrup, could hardly have gone any better as they recorded a comprehensive 3-0 win over Cardiff at the Liberty Stadium.
Monk's half-time introduction of Pablo Hernandez paid immediate dividends as the Spaniard's sumptuous pass teed up Wayne Routledge for the opener, before headers from Nathan Dyer and Wilfried Bony sealed the win.
Victory moved Swansea four points clear of the relegation zone, and into the top half of the Premier League table.
Monk had not lost against Cardiff whenever he had taken the field in the battle for Welsh bragging rights, but found taking the spoils as a coach had given the triumph an extra edge.
The 34-year-old said: "I remember winning at Cardiff as a player and that was right up there, but this has got to be the best.
"To see a team going out there and working the way you want them to work.
"It's only been three or four days but to see some of the things we had worked at on the training ground come off, there is probably nothing more satisfying, especially against your fiercest rivals.
"But all respect to Cardiff, and we have always respected them in every game we have played against them, that was magnificent."
And Monk heaped praise on his players for getting behind him and for proving a point at the end of a week when the unity of the Swansea set-up had been questioned.
He said: "There had been a lot of talk outside of our environment, but I isolated them on the training ground and had them doing training that was sharp and intense.
"They were given no time to think about off-the-field events, which is always the best thing for any footballer.
"They took what we did in training into the game and played exactly the way we wanted.
"My advice to the players was to go out and perform for themselves. They have had people questioning them, so I urged them to prove what good players they are.
"You don't become a bad player overnight, what changes is the mentality and belief."
Cardiff's defeat means the Bluebirds remain 19th in the Premier League table, with their inferior goal difference meaning they are effectively four points from safety.
They have lost four of the five league games Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken charge of, and the Norwegian acknowledged his side need to start picking up points soon, starting with Tuesday's meeting with Aston Villa.
"Our league position should surprise no-one," said Solskjaer.
"We knew we would be in a battle like this, considering this was a team that had come up for the first time in 51 years.
"But I've always said the Premier League is almost split into two different leagues and we're in the second one.
"We have two home matches coming up against Aston Villa and Hull, two other teams in this second league with us.
"We need to look to win those and give everyone a boost.
"There are lots of other games coming up against teams down there with us too.
"But it's no good me just talking about it, we've got to start collecting points before we run out of games."