Southampton make the trip to South Wales on Saturday as they face Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. Mauricio Pochettino’s men will be looking to extend their current unbeaten run which stands at five matches (three wins and two draws). It will be a fascinating but tough game for the Saints as they haven’t won in Swansea since 1962, when both clubs when in the old Division Two.
Representing Swansea on the firing end of my questions is Matthew Phillips who has been supporting the Swans since 2000. Welcome to “And It’s All Southampton FC!” Matthew!
How do you think Swansea's second season in the Premier League has been so far?
It's been brilliant; survival again and a League Cup Final win. I wasn't sure what to expect for this season after Brendan Rodgers left, taking Joe Allen with him too and the Gylfi Sigurdsson signing falling through. But I think we've been better this season, much more attacking, but still keeping the ball. I hope we finish in the top 10 and have a good end to the season.
Michael Laudrup has done a terrific job so far at Swansea, what aspects has he improved on since he took over?
He has made us more attacking, last season at times, as good as we were, it was frustrating when we would be losing and our defenders would have a lot of the ball for a while. We haven't come back to win after going behind yet in the league, but have had a few draws from losing positions. He hasn't changed too much, but has made us more threatening definitely.
|Laudrup guided Swansea to win their first major |
trophy in their history in February.
Can Swansea become an established Premier League club for years to come?
I'd like to think so; we are only a quality striker away from finishing higher up the league I think. Hopefully we'll improve our squad again in the summer. I see no reason why we can't be in the Prem for years. We will never spend what we can't afford to do so though.
Fellow managers have said that Swansea are a model club for promoted teams. Do you agree with this?
Yes. I'd like to think we play attractive football, not necessarily the 'right' way, but it works for us and the players we have. Blackpool were similar, but they just couldn't defend. That cost them in the end. From what I've seen from Southampton this season, they play good football too and aren't afraid to attack the 'bigger' clubs.
When we got promoted, a lot of journalists and opposition fans said playing football in the Prem would not work for us, we proved them wrong and I'd like to think that other clubs in the lower leagues would look at Swansea and try to get their teams to play like we do.
When people talk of Swansea, they think of Michu. Did you expect for him to establish himself as one of the Premier League's top scorers?
I thought he'd be a decent player, but didn't think he'd adapt so quickly and easily. He has been quality and we're lucky to have him!
|£2m BARGAIN: Michu has scored 17 goals in his debut season |
in the Premier League
What have you made of Southampton so far this season? Out of the Southampton squad, who has caught your eye and why?
As I mentioned earlier, they play good football. I like Lallana, Schneiderlin, Puncheon and Lambert has obviously been scoring the goals. We were very lucky to get a point at St Marys and even though I thought the Adkins sacking was harsh. Pochettino has seemed to have got you playing better too, but only basing this on highlights I've seen.
Do you think Southampton can achieve similar feats like Swansea, for example qualifying for Europe?
No reason why they can't, they are a bigger club than Swansea historically. Stoke, Birmingham and Portsmouth have all played in Europe in recent seasons. Wigan will next season, but you need a bit of luck in the cups at times. Previous managers never used to take cups seriously, so it was a nice change this season.
Your rivals Cardiff got promoted to the Premier League on Tuesday night; how pleased are you to join them in the top flight? And can they stay there?
I wouldn't say pleased! It will be interesting, for the neutal anyway, to see a Welsh derby in the top flight, as it has never happened before. The rivalry is fierce. Many doubted that we could stay there and we proved them wrong, Cardiff could do the same. Early days yet. I'm not sure if the Championship has been a poor league this season or not. I'm sure we'll see next season.
|The South Wales Derbies will be very exciting next season|
What is your prediction for Saturday's game?
3-1 Swans! But only if we score first, think it will be a good end to end game.
Many thanks to Matthew for taking part in the interview and you can follow him on Twitter: @matt_the_jack. Tomorrow should be an interesting match and best of luck for the remainder of the season!