Burnley F.C.-Swansea City Preview
Sure they were three well-earned points against a big-name opponent.
But as far as Swansea manager Garry Monk is concerned, the opportunity to get three more at the expense of newly promoted Burnley at Liberty Stadium on Saturday is now more important.
Swansea spoiled Louis van Gaal's Premier League debut with Manchester United by posting a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford on Sunday. Gylfi Sigurdsson netted the match-winner in the 72nd minute, culminating the build-up of a cunningly quick re-start by Wilfried Bony after he was fouled in the middle of the park.
Despite becoming the first opponent to grab three points from Old Trafford on the first matchday since 1972, Monk has already moved on as he further rebuilds the identity of a team that lost its way at points while underachieving last campaign.
"We can get better, we should be sharper, we can improve in certain areas, but the whole key to it all was us coming together as a group and everything working for each other," Monk said. "We were right in many areas and got the right result."
While Sigurdsson, who assisted on Sung-Yueng Ki's first-half marker, Bony and Wayne Routledge form a potent attacking trio, Monk went about shoring up the back line as Swansea added defender Federico Fernandez on Wednesday. He started four matches for World Cup runner-up Argentina this summer and made 34 starts across all competitions for Serie A side Napoli last season.
"I can identify myself with the Swansea style - I like to play the ball from the back and, of course, I love to defend too," the 25-year-old told the team's official website. "All I've heard are good things about Swansea."
The early schedule also breaks kindly for the Swans, who have a chance to claim the maximum nine points before the first international break as they host West Bromwich Albion on Aug. 30.
Burnley's first match in the top flight since the 2009-10 season got off to a flying start on Monday when Scott Arfield staked the Clarets to a lead in the 14th minute against Chelsea. Reality, however, soon set in as the Blues responded with three goals in a 17-minute span later in the first half to leave Turf Moor with three points and hung a 3-1 loss on the newly promoted side.
"You can't switch off for a second, we've spoken about that with the group," manager Sean Dyche said. "There's a big learning curve for us, and I think we've started at the very top...we know that's going to be our marking, to be honest, but we can learn from the experience."
The Clarets addressed that lack of experience Wednesday by signing Stephen Ward to a three-year deal. The Irish international played 94 matches in the Premier League with Wolverhampton from 2009-12 and spent last season at Brighton and Hove Albion.
"I'll be looking to start on Saturday but I'm under no illusions," the versatile Ward told the team's official website. "The squad had a great year last year and the players have already shown the manager what they can do. I had three years in the Premier League with Wolves and I know all the ups and downs of it."
The sides have never met in the top flight, with the home team winning each match in the Championship during the 2010-11 season when they last met.