English Premiership

Monk continues to impress

2015-08-15 20:52
Garry Monk (Gallo Images)

London - Eyebrows were raised when former defender Garry Monk inherited the manager's job at Swansea City following Michael Laudrup's sacking in 2014 but few doubt the wisdom of that decision now.

Monk, 36, the second youngest manager in the top flight, has begun this season as he did his first full campaign in charge with his team flying high in the Premier League.

Swansea eased to a 2-0 home win over Newcastle United on Saturday, a week after performing well to hold champions Chelsea to a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Monk, schooled under former Swans managers such as Everton boss Roberto Martinez and Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers, is not the only bright young coach disproving the notion that vast experience is needed to guide the elite.

Norwich City's Alex Neil is two years younger than Monk and celebrated his first victory as a Premier League manager on Saturday when he outwitted Sunderland's grizzled Dutchman Dick Advocaat as his team won 3-1 at the Stadium of Light.

Eddie Howe, 37, will take his side to Liverpool on Monday having steered Bournemouth into the top flight for the first time.

Tottenham Hotspur's Mauricio Pochettino is 43 while Rodgers and Martinez, the latter already a manager for nearly a decade, are a year younger.

Monk, though, is the current flavour of the month.

If anything, with new Ghanaian signing Andre Ayew fitting in seamlessly to his attacking set-up, Swansea look even better than last season when they finished eighth with the club's record Premier League points total.

Ecuadorian winger Jefferson Montero tormented Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last weekend and he teased full back Daryl Janmaat into a 41st-minute red card that sealed Newcastle's fate.

Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis scored the goals, as they did against Chelsea, and such are Monk's options when it comes to attackers that Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer were introduced off the bench in the second half.

Monk's preference for an attractive style of play, however, is not to the detriment of good old-fashioned football nous.

"We spoke all week about how good teams and good players are able to back up good performances and we did that today," said Monk who made more than 200 appearances in 10 years for Swansea in all four divisions.

"We showed our maturity when they went down to 10 men," he told the club website (www.swanseacity.net).

"We didn't force the issue and tried to take the openings when they came. Everyone contributed and performed today and backed up our good performance at Chelsea."

Neil, who steered Norwich back up at the first time of asking after being appointed in January, said Saturday's win at Sunderland was an important milestone after an opening-day defeat by Crystal Palace.

"When you lose your first game people start to question you as a group and they started questioning me. I think we did ourselves justice today," he said.


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