Thursday, 27 November 2014

Monk eyeing Europa League - providing next 9 games go well!

While comment was fairly innocuous, the mention of Europa League qualification through the league is surely a first for a Swansea manager

Once upon a time there was talk of a "league within a league" in the Premiership, and while that's a line of thinking which has now been firmly put to bed at the Swans it's something which often gets brought up whenever a team's chances of breaking into the established "top four/five/six/seven" are discussed. Few have managed to break the monopoly of the established teams who regularly gain European qualification through league position, and it's almost understandable if some teams didn't view progress to that high a position in the league as possible. 

Garry Monk was speaking about how the next nine games will be a defining factor in our target for the season, but for me the little bit at the end of his quotes is very telling. While he may accept it's unrealistic, and you can't plan that far ahead, that Monk even mentioned the Europa League shows how well he feels we've been playing this season, and how - next few results dependent - we could be in a position to build on our great start. 

"When we come out of that nine-game period we will know where we are in the league and if we can push on. Or, if there's something we need to quickly address, make sure we don't get dragged down into a relegation fight. 
"Of course, the main focus will always be to get to 40 points as soon as possible, hopefully throughout that period we can get to somewhere near... sooner rather than later. Our focus is on now and Crystal Palace, and if we can get three points then great. You can't look too far ahead although obviously I plan ahead for the team and what we're going to do. 
"I'd love to get into the Europa League but that's not my focus... our focus is on trying to win the next game." Garry Monk
As I say, the Europa League comment is obviously a throwaway remark, but it's the fact that it was even mentioned that pleases me. If we win our next two games (Palace & QPR at home) we'll have twenty-four points from fourteen games, which if extrapolated over a season adds up to 65 points (near as damnit) - which would obviously be a record points return for the Swans and would almost definitely put us in a good position for European qualification.

I'm not expecting us to get sixty-five points, but as Monk says if we get the right results in our next nine games then we can reassess and push on. To where, it remains to be seen - I for one though am glad that given our great start to the season Monk does at least acknowledge that European qualification is a possibility.

As Monk said, we aim to compete in every game. Do that over the rest of the season and who knows where we'll end up, but I wouldn't bet against a record points return. 

Would you?