Swansea manager Garry Monk wants to build on good start before next break
Published 10/09/2015 | 17:19
Swansea manager Garry Monk has challenged his players to turn a good start into a great one before the next international break in October.
Monk's men capped a promising start to the Barclays Premier League campaign by beating Manchester United 2-1 in their final game before the international break nearly two weeks ago.
Unbeaten Swansea lie in fourth place with eight points from four games before resuming hostilities at Watford on Saturday, and their early-season form has seen Monk nominated for August manager of the month with Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew both candidates to take the player's award.
After Watford, Swansea's league programme contains fixtures against Everton, Southampton and Tottenham and Monk wants his side to push on and establish themselves at the top end of the table.
"These few games before the next international break is an important period for us," Monk said at his pre-match press conference.
"We can try and continue what has been a good start, the choice whether it becomes a great start or we start again back at the beginning.
"We want to try and continue what we've been doing and I'm sure the players will be focused and ready to do that.
"At the moment we are playing with some freedom and confidence and a good way of working, but it's so early in the season to be talking about positions in the league.
"You really need to get to that 10 to 15 game marker and it begins to even out, or you start to gauge what you can push for and what you are going to be fighting for."
Gomis and Ayew have provided every one of Swansea's seven league goals so far but success has also been based on a solid defence which has remained unaltered this season.
Wales captain Ashley Williams and Argentina international Federico Fernandez have struck up a formidable centre-back partnership over the past year and Monk, a former central defender himself, says it gives Swansea a terrific base to work from.
"I think Ash and Fede are one of the best partnerships in the league at this moment," Monk said.
"But Ash has got to be up there in the top three or four centre-backs in the league the way he plays, contributes in every game and leads the group.
"The bit that's most pleasing for any defender is how consistent you are, not only in terms of the amount of games played but also the level of performance.
"Ash can be really proud of that as it's hardest thing for any defender to be that consistent and, hopefully, he can play game after game and lead Swansea for a long time."
Jefferson Montero will be fit for the visit to Watford after missing the victory over United with a thigh injury and Modou Barrow will also be in the squad after being recalled from a loan spell at Blackburn to replace Nathan Dyer, who joined Leicester on a season-long loan on transfer deadline day.
Monk said he understood Dyer's decision to leave Swansea to try and get first-team game-time and also confirmed there had been no developments over the future of Michu, who is in talks with the club over terminating his contract.
"I've left that to the chairman and club to talk to Michu and his representatives," Monk said.
"Nothing came in the window and it's an ongoing situation, and hopefully there will be a decision sooner rather than later which is best for the club and the player."