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New Swansea City boss Garry Monk on Michael Laudrup, Chico Flores, respect, training — and babies

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 07, 2014

Swansea City head coach Garry Monk at his first press conference yesterday.

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GARRY Monk's fiancee is due to give birth to twin sons next month, but he is already holding the baby.

Monk has stepped into the breach this week following the sacking of Michael Laudrup and, he confesses, hasn't had a lot of kip.

"I have barely slept for two or three days," Monk said.

"I have probably got 500 or 600 messages on my phone that I have not responded to.

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"It's been busy."

Welcome to life in the manager's office.

Monk revealed yesterday that a stipulation of his contract was that the club would pay for his education as a coach.

And he divulged that he has had various discussions with Swansea's owners about the prospect of a managerial role at the club.

What Monk did not anticipate a week ago was that he would be at the helm for tomorrow's South Wales derby.

"The phone call was 'Can you go in and be ready to prepare?'," he added.

"But they (Swansea's owners) have told me that over years and years. I've had numerous conversations with the chairman and the board and everyone about my coaching aspirations — that's been talked about for five or six years.

"I'm doing my A licence at the moment. The club have paid for my badge — you wouldn't put that in someone's contract if you weren't thinking for the future.

"So I've always prepared myself. I had a plan in my mind and the ultimate aim was to be Swansea manager.

"I didn't expect things to turn out like this, but I feel ready.

"If I didn't I wouldn't be doing it."

Monk insists that despite firm suggestions that Swansea were looking initially into the idea of him joining Laudrup's coaching staff, that was never going to happen.

In truth it never looked a likely combination and, once the decision was made that a change was needed, a clean break was surely for the best.

Monk shied away from criticising Laudrup yesterday — but made it clear that he will do things differently.

"I've never had any problems with him at all," Monk claimed.

"Everyone trains differently — every manager has his own philosophy.

"It doesn't matter what you think as a player. Your duty is to do what the manager wants.

"But for me, I will work differently (from Laudrup).

"I don't want to get into training methods and all that sort of thing.

"What I will do is use all the things that I think have been important to the best Swansea sides I have played in.

"I want the players to accept the way I want to do it, and I think they already have.

"If you see our training sessions, none of the players was mucking around, so that tells you instantly they're respecting what you're doing.

"You're always judged on the pitch by players, by what you do in training.

"You know if you're respected by how they train, and everyone's been fantastic."

Monk dismissed talk of a rift with Chico Flores following their training ground row last month.

"I have absolutely zero problem with Chico — he will be involved against Cardiff," Monk said.

"We have a fantastic relationship and we have laughed about what's gone on."

Monk also rejected suggestions of wider issues within the Swansea camp.

"I don't see any problem with the way the group has been since we did training yesterday," he added.

"They have been fantastic — and that is every player.

"The whole group is together. One of the things I said to them that no matter what your feelings are when you lose a manager, you have a duty to represent the club you are employed by with respect.

"That is the message I sent and I think everyone understood that. That is the whole point of what I want to present.

"In all my time here there has always been a tight group, no bad eggs. That doesn't change.

"It becomes more international and you have different characters. You have to adapt — all of us, including the British players."

There has not been much down-time for Monk since Laudrup's exit.

Aside from training sessions, the 34-year-old has been studying DVDs of Cardiff City ahead of his debut in the dugout tomorrow evening.

"There are a lot of different elements that come into it — you do analysis, work on the opposition, all different stuff — and it tends to drag on but it is what it is and I'm under no illusions," he said.

Monk has also been monitoring injuries like never before, and there are issues for what is a huge game.

Jonjo Shelvey is doubtful, while Monk is still deciding whether Michel Vorm and Michu will be fit to play a part.

Victory tomorrow would be a huge start for the Monk regime — and a big lift for a club who, as it stands, are right in the middle of the relegation scrap.

Monk eyes 40 points as his first target — then points out that he might not get enough games to reach that tally.

For the moment, he stresses, it is all eyes on Cardiff — and on making sure the family are all right.

"The twins are due pretty much at the same time as the Napoli (away) game," Monk said. "I will just get FaceTime and go by the side of the bed — I can talk her through it!

"I have told the club they are going to have hire me a private jet, but I don't think that's going to happen!

"I have a three-year-old already so I am not getting any sleep as it is.

"Lexy was the first one I spoke to before I said yes to the job and luckily she didn't say no.

"She's the most supportive of all along with my mum, dad and my brother.

"She has been brilliant. My daughter knows I play football, so she just says 'play football'."

She may have to learn the word manager next.

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  • EleanorMHardi  |  February 07 2014, 11:08PM

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  • TaipeiSteve  |  February 07 2014, 5:38PM

    Guardian article on Garry Monk and his take over at the helm: http://tinyurl.com/o3owbom

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