Garry Monk has expressed his admiration for Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino as he attempts to improve Swansea’s dismal record against Spurs.
Former Southampton manager Pochettino has taken time to implement his high-energy pressing principles in north London, but the signs are encouraging with Tottenham having won their last three Premier League games to move into the top six.
Spurs thrashed Manchester City 4-1 in their last league fixture and Pochettino’s side are now unbeaten in six Premier League games since losing to Manchester United on the opening day of the season.
“I’ve had conversations with him before and after games and I really like him,” Swansea manager Monk said of the Argentinian, now in his second season at White Hart Lane.
“He’s a very forward-thinking coach and I think he’s probably made Tottenham a more efficient outfit.
“Before they always had an image of playing very good football, but maybe being a bit fancy at times and a bit too lax in certain areas.
“But he’s tightened them up and made them a bit more solid and more aggressive.
“They’ve got really good players but there’s more of a work ethic in the team now.
“Last year you could see it was starting to progress and speaking to him, it was a process he was going through.
“This season I think you’ve seen him progress it even more.”
Swansea’s record against Spurs is their poorest against any opponent since they were promoted into the top flight in 2011.
They did manage a 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium in their first Premier League meeting against the north Londoners but they have lost the last seven games between the two clubs.
“I played when we got a point, so I will give myself credit for that,” Monk joked.
“But in a few of the games we have been unlucky. Last year at home, we put in an unbelievable performance and it’s hard to know how we didn’t win that game.
“When we got the point in the 1-1 draw, we were probably the better team and should have won.
“Other games we have deserved to lose, and Spurs are a very good side.
“But it’s the same with Everton, we’ve had opportunities to beat them over the years and not quite done it.
“That stigma stays with you until you do it. We have got the opportunity to put that to bed and that has to be our motivation this weekend.”
The game also represents something of an old boys’ reunion with former Spurs players Kyle Naughton, Wayne Routledge and Gylfi Sigurdsson at Swansea, while Tottenham trio Michel Vorm, Ben Davies and Tom Carroll have all played for the Welsh club.
Carroll spent last season on loan at Swansea and Monk admitted he was interested in bringing the England Under-21 midfielder back to the Liberty Stadium.
“Tom did great, I really enjoyed working with him and he’s a really good prospect,” Monk said.
“I spoke to him at the end of the season about coming here and of course we were interested.
“But I think it was a case that he really wanted to go back there and see if he could work his way into the first team.
“You’ve seen already this season that he’s been involved in the first-team set-up and that’s credit to him.”
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