Monday 9 December 2019

Swansea boss Garry Monk: 'I've no problem with Mourinho not shaking my hand'

Swansea manager Garry Monk
Swansea manager Garry Monk

Phil Blanche

Swansea manager Garry Monk insists there is no problem between him and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho ahead of their Barclays Premier League summit meeting on Saturday.

Mourinho failed to shake hands with Monk after a controversial Liberty Stadium contest between the two clubs last April, which Chelsea won 1-0.

Chico Flores was sent off early on after picking up a second yellow card, with Monk complaining the Swansea defender only saw red after the Chelsea bench and manager put pressure on the fourth official and their players surrounded referee Phil Dowd.

"It's not a big deal for myself," Monk said.

"I'm probably not the only one who he hasn't shaken hands with.

"I like to shake hands and finish well but I respect him highly, he's a top manager, a very respected person in football and in that bracket of the very elite."

Swansea head to Stamford Bridge as Premier League equals, the top two both having won their opening three games but Chelsea top by virtue of a superior goal difference.

And Monk believes Chelsea are title favourites after strengthening their squad over the summer with the acquisitions of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis.

"They're one of the powerhouses of the league this season," Monk said.

"They've got quality all over the pitch and there's a lot more strengths than weaknesses.

"They'll be favourites for the title this season and they'll be a good test for us.

"We have to give our best performance in order to warrant winning any points."

Monk and Mourinho have both been nominated for the August manager of the month award, alongside Aston Villa's Paul Lambert and Mark Hughes of Stoke, with the winner announced on Friday morning.

And Swansea's visit to London comes just hours after the big screen premiere of the club's rise from near-extinction to top-flight football, the film Jack to a King being shown at the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square on Friday night

"It's a great story and it's not just the football, it's everything that goes with it," said Monk, who has been at Swansea for 10 years as player, captain and now manager.

"I don't think people know what Swansea have been through over the last few years.

"People will be surprised at home how close the club was to being extinct and I don't think you'll see that rise again, especially in modern-day football."

Monk has reported a clean bill of health in his squad after having several players away on international duty in midweek, although striker Wilfried Bony is not due back until Thursday night after playing for the Ivory Coast in an African Nations Cup qualifier in Cameroon on Wednesday.

"Of course, you always worry when the international boys go away and you hope they come back in one piece," Monk said.

"But players pick up injuries, thankfully all our boys are fine."

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