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Tuesday 19 November 2019

Monk driven by criticism

Swansea manager Garry Monk says he has taken satisfaction from proving the critics wrong this season
Swansea manager Garry Monk says he has taken satisfaction from proving the critics wrong this season

Garry Monk has revealed how the critics have driven him on to make a success of his first full season in charge of Swansea.

Monk, at 36 the youngest manager in the Barclays Premier League, has steered Swansea to their highest finish of eighth with a record points total.

But many commentators, including high-profile pundits like Robbie Savage, tipped Monk's men for relegation at the start of the season and Mark Lawrenson said Swansea would "sink like a stone" after selling top scorer Wilfried Bony to Manchester City in January.

"It's kind of nice to get criticism in a stupid way as that's what's always driven me," Monk said ahead of Swansea's final game of the season at Crystal Palace on Sunday.

"It wasn't anything vindictive or nasty, but when people don't think you can do a good job it's nice to prove people wrong.

"I never doubted myself. I knew it would be tough as it's not an easy job at all, but I just knew the work I was going to put in and the work I was going to give to the players that we would be fine.

"It will be the same for next season, but if I get that same commitment and desire from the players then we will get a good season."

Veteran pundit Lawrenson told the BBC website Swansea "had stuck a pie in his face" as his weekly predictions on the club's fortunes fell flat.

Had Lawrenson's head-to-head predictions against a different celebrity each week come true Swansea would be relegated with only 25 points.

"I'm not sure how you can see us winning games and doing well and still keep predicting we will lose," Monk said.

"Someone will always find a way to be negative, but more the merrier to be honest.

"The drive was for the players to change their mindsets and that's what I tried to do this season, of wanting more.

"I wanted to prove them wrong not just by getting safe, but by achieving something. I'm also mindful that this summer coming how silly it's going to get with teams spending big money, so it's going to be extremely hard to do again what we've done this season.

"But I'm prepared for that, and I'll prepare the players for that, and we will look to just push on next season."

Monk has already drawn up his summer shopping list with another goalkeeper, left-back and possibly two strikers on top of it.

Bafetimbi Gomis created plenty of waves when he was playing second fiddle to Bony before Christmas and complained about his lack of opportunities, but Monk says he expects the Frenchman to respond to extra competition in the correct fashion.

"Players sometimes say something they shouldn't be but I said at the time that I never once saw an unhappy player and mentally he is very strong," Monk said.

"You can see the fight in him right now, he wants that number one shirt and he has done great.

"It's a department we have to strengthen, someone who is going to push Bafe and fight it out with him.

"I have got plans in mind going forward with what to do and who to use, but it is an area that needs strengthening."

PA Media

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