Sport Soccer

Thursday 26 April 2018

Wenger's praise a boost for Monk

Swansea's Garry Monk, pictured, says Arsene Wenger's praise is a 'massive compliment'
Swansea's Garry Monk, pictured, says Arsene Wenger's praise is a 'massive compliment'

Garry Monk has described Arsene Wenger's call for him to be crowned manager of the year as a "massive compliment".

But the Swansea boss still wants to derail Arsenal's push for second spot in the Barclays Premier League.

Wenger chose Monk as his manager of the year for the job he has done in his first full season in charge at the Liberty Stadium, the rookie boss steering Swansea into the top eight with a club-record points haul after being tipped for a season of struggle by many in August.

Monk has already heard similar sentiments from Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew but admits such praise is special coming from someone with Wenger's standing in the game.

"It's brilliant to hear that and I appreciate it greatly," Monk said ahead of Swansea's trip to the Emirates Stadium on Monday night.

"The pleasing thing for me is that Arsene is so experienced and has been at the top of his game for so long. It is a massive compliment.

"We are going in the right direction, so the recognition is good for me and my staff and I appreciate it."

Although Monk says he has had little interaction with Wenger - "it's difficult after games because of the amount of media the top managers have to do" - the Swansea manager was present when the Frenchman spoke at a managers' get-together at the start of the season.

And Monk says he has heard plenty about Wenger and his methods with former Arsenal 'Invincibles' Patrick Vieira and Sol Campbell on his Pro-Licence coaching course.

"I have had some great discussions with them about Arsene and those days at Arsenal," Monk said.

"They tell me how intense he is, how he lives and breathes it and they speak very highly of him.

"He is still very hungry for success and I remember going to a managers' meeting at the start of the season.

"He talked about how managers should look after each other, protect each other and be there for each other.

"He spoke very well in front of all the other managers and he has seen more than anyone else in the Premier League, so you have to respect that."

Monk is actually unbeaten in his two games against Wenger, Swansea having drawn 2-2 in north London in March 2014 before winning this season's league game at the Liberty Stadium, 2-1 in November.

But Monk feels Wenger has assembled the best Arsenal squad since the 'Invincibles' went through the 2003-04 league season unbeaten, the Gunners being the form team in English football having won 12 of their last 14 league matches with only one defeat.

"They have always had a great squad in my opinion but they look like they can really do something now," Monk said.

"Since the turn of the year, they have been so strong and it will give them confidence going into next season.

"I think they have a real chance of competing and I am sure that's what they have in mind."

Press Association

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