Sunday 18 March 2018

Monk won't flinch from Blues test

Garry Monk, pictured, comes up against Jose Mourinho for the first time on Sunday
Garry Monk, pictured, comes up against Jose Mourinho for the first time on Sunday

Head coach Garry Monk has urged his Swansea players to embrace the challenge of facing Barclays Premier League title contenders and Champions League semi-finalists Chelsea on Sunday.

And that also includes the Swans' rookie boss, who has only been in charge of the first team since Michael Laudrup was dismissed a little more than two months ago and now goes head-to-head with Chelsea chief Jose Mourinho.

"We know what we're up against," Monk said.

"Chelsea are competing for the league, in the semi-final of the Champions League and have one of the strongest squads and best managers in the world.

"When you look at it like that we don't have a chance on paper, do we? But you don't think like that, it's something we embrace and it's a chance to showcase what we can do to the world.

"You have to embrace the challenge of going against one of the best managers in the world. His record proves that, and for someone like myself it's great.

"I can't fear that, you embrace it and rise to the challenge. It's something I've done through my career and will continue to do it.

"It's why you want to get into management. When you come up against challenges like this it's a learning process. Maybe at the end they might give you a word of wisdom. It's the same as a player, you want to pit your wits against the best players."

Monk, though, has ruled out the possibility of any Mourinho-style touchline dash should Swansea have cause to celebrate on Sunday.

"Everyone's different," he added. "Passion isn't just doing those things, it's shown in different ways. It's how he feels - you can tell he's genuine - and these are people you look up to.

"You watch different managers and players and how they act. I'm passionate, but I won't be sprinting up and down the line."

Monk accepts that Swansea will need to produce a far better performance than they did in losing 1-0 to Hull last weekend, a result that means they are not yet mathematically safe from relegation.

"I was very annoyed with the performance," Monk said.

"The training was very good, the sessions very competitive, and as a manager all you can do is get it to that level and understand fully what is expected and that they do it on a Saturday.

"That's the disappointment - the work they've put in, and end up with a performance like that.

"If you had to say mathematically, we need two more wins, but we want more. We have been too inconsistent this season."

For Swansea's 20-goal striker Wilfried Bony, meanwhile, Sunday's game offers a chance to give the Welsh club a famous win against a team once graced by his fellow Ivorian and good friend Dider Drogba.

"Didier is a friend of mine. We call each other, we have a good relationship. He is a good guy," Bony said.

"He has helped me a lot. I am looking forward to try to beat Chelsea on Sunday and then call him after the game!

"They (Chelsea) are top players, and we are expecting an extremely tough game. We are at home, and we have to do our maximum.

"We are all confident, we just have to show it in the game from the first minute. We have to focus on our performance and show it in the game."

Press Association

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