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“The Players Are All Looking Forward To This”



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That isn’t a bad baptism of fire for a man who was thrust into the limelight following the departure of Michael Laudrup from the Liberty Stadium. Five games to date but have yielded just one win and two draws for the Swans but it is the style of play that has attracted the attention and the Swans can consider themselves mightily unlucky not to have won more of those five games given the way they have approached them.

One of those games is most definitely the first leg of this Europa League clash at the Liberty Stadium which the Swans dominated pretty much from the off on a night where they ended up puzzled how they hadn’t managed to take at least a one goal lead to Naples for the second leg although in reality they probably deserved more than that.

So it is little wonder that the team have headed out to Italy looking forward to the second leg of the tie which will see them encounter one of the most hostile atmospheres that there is in Europe but it is one that Monk acknowledges that he would have loved to play in as he looks to complete the job they started last Thursday in Swansea.

60,000 will be in the Stadio San Paolo this evening and the Swans have already been warmed to expect an atmosphere that they have never experienced before by goalkeeper Michel Vorm who played here when he was at Utrecht but it is not one that is putting the players off as Monk explained in his press conference yesterday.

“I just need to prepare the players as well as I can,” he said. “It’s somewhere that we haven’t been before as a club and I think it’s going to be a very good game between two attack minded teams.

“The stadium is set back from pitch quite a bit and the atmosphere will be hostile and passionate, but certainly one that you want to be involved in as a player.

“I’ve spoken to all the players and they are all very much looking forward to it.”

Monk will be without Jonjo Shelvey and Michu for this game so is expected to name an unchanged line up from the one that started last week at the Liberty and who knows what kind of pressure an early goal from us could put on the home side who only managed a 1-1 draw on Monday night in their league game.

He does though recognise how much different it could have been had the Swans got the win they deserved last Thursday at the Liberty “The only disappointment from last week was not scoring a goal, because we deserved that,” he said.

“We had a number of chances, but the next most important thing is to keep a clean sheet which we did. In a knockout competition where away goals are crucial, that was the next best thing for us.

“They (Napoli) have dangerous players going forward, they are at home and their fans will expect them to win the game.

“We know it’s a difficult game but it’s one where we can come and put on a performance we can all be proud of.”

A win for the Swans would be a massive step forward in securing Monk a permanent job in the hot seat at the Liberty however he – and the club – will also know that there will be no disgrace in defeat but tonight is set up to possibly be the greatest European night in the club’s history and anything nearing the performance we put in last week could see us secure one of the greatest shocks ever by a British club in Europe.


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