Sunday 8 December 2019

Monk: Poyet brought best out of Ki

Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yeung spent last season on loan at Sunderland
Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yeung spent last season on loan at Sunderland

Swansea boss Garry Monk feels his Sunderland counterpart Gus Poyet deserves huge credit for returning Ki Sung-yeung back to south Wales a more mature footballer and rounded person.

Ki spent last season on loan at Sunderland after being told he was not part of former Swansea manager Michael Laudrup's plans and helped the Black Cats reach the Capital One Cup final as well as win their battle against Barclays Premier League relegation.

Sunderland boss Poyet wanted to make the loan deal permanent but Monk persuaded the South Korean midfielder that his future lay in Swansea after he succeeded Laudrup and Ki has since signed a new four-year contract at the Liberty Stadium.

"Gus deserves big credit, he gave him a good role in the team and highlighted what Ki had, but we knew that anyway," Monk said ahead of Swansea's league trip to Sunderland on Saturday.

"I knew that myself after playing with him and seeing him in training and that's why I made it clear for him to stay.

"But he's matured as well as a footballer and a human being. He understands himself a bit more now of what he needs to do to get the best out of himself and what players need from him as well."

The 25-year-old has been one of Swansea's stand-out performers during their impressive start to the season and repaid Monk's hard work during the summer when he made getting Ki back on board one of his main priorities.

"I spoke to him a lot in the summer and told him he was the type of player I wanted with us," Monk said.

"He is an important part of how I want to go with this team and he just needed to feel that and that he was wanted.

"I explained that very much to him and from that point onwards he was pretty much sold on it.

"His commitment in training every day has been great and in the games he is producing some good football."

Monk refuses to criticise his predecessor Laudrup over his decision to send Ki out on loan last season, but Swansea defender Neil Taylor admits the Welsh club's dressing room were baffled by the fact he was playing for one of their relegation rivals at the time.

"When he was up there last season we were thinking 'we'd love to have him here'," Taylor said.

"Circumstances meant he couldn't be but we knew if we could get him back - and he was already our player - then we would get the best out of him.

"He's come back a better player and we've reaped the benefits, and if we keep players like that fit then the sky's the limit."

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