Tuesday 20 March 2018

Swansea target Europa League

Swansea 2-0 Stoke City

Swansea manager Garry Monk
Swansea manager Garry Monk

Phil Blanche

Garry Monk feels Swansea are in the race for Europe. Late goals from Jefferson Montero and Ki Sung-yueng almost guaranteed that Swansea will end the season in the top eight - their highest-ever finish in the Premier League.

But Swansea are now only four points adrift of Southampton following the Saints' surprise defeat at Sunderland - and seventh place could be enough for Europa League qualification if Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup final at the end of May.

"The carrot (of Europe) is there for us as we have got Arsenal away, Man City home and Crystal Palace away. They are tough games," Swansea manager Monk said.

"We are under no illusions, but if we perform like we did in the second half, in those games we will be a handful for anyone.

"It is feasible to get into Europe but we keep our feet firmly on the ground here. This game was about consolidating our place in the top 10 and we are in control of that eighth spot now. We have beaten our best points tally and you have to find new things to fight for."

Ecuador winger Montero broke the deadlock with his first goal in English football since his £4m summer switch from Mexican club Monarcas Morelia, a 76th-minute diving header. Ki then settled matters with his eighth goal of the season in stoppage time after coming off the bench in the closing stages.

Monk said: "I had a few words with them at half-time as the first half we were at 70 per cent. The tempo of our passing was not where it should have been, but we were so dominant in the second half and deserved to win the game."

Stoke's Ireland defender Marc Wilson was sent off in the 85th minute for two bookable offences, and manager Mark Hughes felt his side lacked an attacking edge. He said: "Our creative play was missing and that was disappointing."

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