Monk enjoys Benitez tete-a-tete

Garry Monk had good reason to delay his post-match press conference following Swansea's Europa League draw against Napoli - an audience with Rafael Benitez.

Rafael Benitez and Garry Monk

Monk was full of apologies to assembled media at the Liberty Stadium, but no one could begrudge him an opportunity that would have seemed fanciful in the extreme little more than a fortnight ago.

Swansea's new head coach has experienced just one defeat in four games since he succeeded Michael Laudrup earlier this month.

And after watching his team dominate Benitez's Serie A title contenders for long periods of a last-32 first leg clash that ended 0-0, Monk's learning experience continued as the former Inter Milan, Liverpool and Swansea boss readily engaged in conversation.

"He talked about his experiences at Napoli, and just some advice that I will keep to myself," Monk said.

"He was talking about how it has been since he moved to Napoli, what it is like with the club, how he is trying to progress the club forward and what his views are on how to do that.

"It was good and interesting to hear. He gave some advice on the people you have around you, to trust yourself and be your own person, because at the end of the day the buck stops with you.

"It was brilliant to speak with someone like that. I never thought I would be sat with someone like that a few weeks back, so you have got to take it all in while you can.

"I wasn't going to pass up that opportunity. It was really good to speak with him. He shared a bit of his experiences and some advice, which is really good.

"You don't really notice the other manager during the game because you are fixated on your team and everything.

"You are in the moment trying to do the best you can for your team, but it is great afterwards that you can speak with someone of that experience and that stature in the game."

Monk was justifiably thrilled with his team's performance, and had it not been for the brilliance of Napoli goalkeeper Rafael Cabral, then Swansea would be taking a commanding lead with them into next Thursday's return leg in southern Italy.

"I really enjoyed it," Monk added.

"I guess in the end it doesn't matter what the score is when you get a performance like that. We deserved more than what we got.

"We kind of needed a goal, because it gives you that edge going into the second leg. But we have nothing to lose when we go there. The pressure is on them.

"We will go over there and compete with them. It will be a great experience for everyone at the club. To be in with a shout, that's all we can ask for in this competition.

"The performances the boys have put in since I started have been magnificent, not just out on the pitch, but in training every day.

"Hopefully, for us going forward, we can take the confidence from that sort of game and take it into our Premier League form. We have shown if you can compete with someone like Napoli, you can pretty much compete with anyone."



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