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Monk expects thriller

26 Feb 2014 19:02:00

Monk expects thriller

Swansea coach Garry Monk has told fans to expect a thrilling encounter when his team takes on Napoli in Thursday's Europa League last 32 return leg.

Both teams go into the match at the San Paolo stadium with all to play for after their goalless draw in the first leg in Swansea.

The pressure will be on Napoli and the Swans hope to take advantage of that.

"We are coming here to enjoy it," Monk said in Wednesday's press conference. "I think it's going to be a great game, between two attack-minded teams.

"Napoli have very dangerous players going forward and I expect them to attack.

"That is their mentality and that is a good way to play. It really has all the ingredients for a great match."

The Swans dominated the encounter at the Liberty Stadium last week but could not make that count.

"The only disappointment from our performance in the first leg was not to score a goal," Monk said.

"For whatever reason, we weren't able to. We definitely deserved to score.

"But when you don't find the target, the next best thing, especially in a competition like this one where it's a knock-out round, is to keep a clean sheet, and we did that."

The 34-year-old Monk, who took over as caretaker manager earlier this month following the sacking of Michael Laudrup, believes his team will have to produce another great performance to have any chance of beating Napoli in Naples.

Napoli are third in Serie A and were only eliminated from this season's Champions League group stage on goal difference.

"Napoli have a very good team," he said. "They have 11 good players.

"They were very unlucky to be out of the Champions League.

"We realise the task that awaits us, it's going to be very difficult.

"Napoli are expected to win the game but we will try to give another good performance to make everyone proud of us."

Monk believes his players can overcome the intimidating atmosphere that awaits them tomorrow.

"Napoli have passionate fans," he said. "The atmosphere will be incredible.

"It will be a hostile environment but as a player you look forward to this type of game.

"The players after the game at Liverpool are looking forward to playing here."

Tomorrow's match will also be Monk's biggest test as Swansea manager.

"I'm enjoying it," he said. "I don't look at it as though I've been thrown at the deep end. I just look to continue with the job and try to get the best out of my players.

"(Napoli coach) Rafa (Benitez) had very good words to say to me after last week's game. He had words of advice which I appreciated considering his experience and his stature in the game."

Monk, whose side lost 4-3 at Liverpool in last weekend''s Barclays Premier League thriller, does not expect the game against Napoli to go to penalties.

"We haven't had time to practise penalties," he said. "We've had a lot of games and a lot of the times in training it's just recovery days.

"We have penalty specialists in the team and they are confident. Hopefully, it will not come to that and we can get the job done in regulation."


PA

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