Tuesday 20 March 2018

Swansea ready to start life without Ashley Williams at Burnley

Swansea manager Francesco Guidolin wants his players to show leadership skills following the sale of skipper Ashley Williams.
Swansea manager Francesco Guidolin wants his players to show leadership skills following the sale of skipper Ashley Williams.

Swansea start life without Ashley Williams at Burnley on Saturday with manager Francesco Guidolin challenging his players to show the courage and character of their former captain.

Williams ended his eight-year stay at Swansea on Wednesday when he completed his move to Everton.

Swansea want to sign a central defender before the transfer window closes later this month, but the leadership qualities of Wales captain Williams will be missed as much as his playing ability.

"I was not surprised to see him (Williams) go because at the beginning of my holidays I knew there was a possibility we would start the season without him," said Guidolin.

"Then I knew there was this offer from Everton but I decided to stay out (of it).

"I spoke always with the chairman, but my position was to stay out of it because I believe that when a player decides to go it's better to let him go.

"He was an important player, but I think this is his decision.

"When a player has the possibility to change and go away for a new challenge it's correct to respect this decision.

"We have leaders in this team. Leaders are not only captains, and in this situation all of us have to show more personality and character and courage.

"We will miss some of these with Ash, not just the player but as a man."

Federico Fernandez and Jordi Amat will team up at the heart of the Swansea defence for their Premier League opener at Turf Moor.

But Guidolin says Swansea have drawn up a short-list of central defenders to complete what the Italian believes is a strong squad.

"I am speaking with the chairman on this position," said Guidolin.

"We have no Ash so there will be another centre-back. We have a shortlist of players.

"But there is no rush in this market and I have always said I am happy with my group.

"We have almost two teams, we have two players in each position which is good for me.

"I think we have a good team but we have to show that at Burnley - which is a massive game for us - and in every game."

Guidolin steered Swansea to safety last season following his surprise appointment in January.

But he feels he is better equipped now for the demands of the Premier League having had a pre-season at the Liberty Stadium.

"I am curious, but I think my team is ready," said Guidolin.

"We had a good pre-season, we worked hard every day and I am proud of my players.

"This is the first game and we want to start well, but it is important for the opponent as well so we have to be ready.

"Burnley are a promoted team, strong and compact.

"I have told my players to remember last season when Watford and Bournemouth had good years after promotion."

Press Association

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