Angel targets home comforts
19th October 2013
Angel Rangel insists the next two league games are the most important of the season so far - starting with today's visit of Sunderland.
The Swans will complete back-to-back home games in the Barclays Premier League for the first time this term when West Ham arrive at the Liberty next weekend.
But Michael Laudrup's men must first tackle Sunderland, who sit bottom of the table with just one point from their first seven games.
And Rangel is targeting a first league win at the Liberty as the Swans look to climb the table once more.
"We need to start picking up points, particularly at home," he said. "We have played against some top teams but we now come up against clubs that we need to beat.
"Sunderland are in a bad moment right now, but we are also at home. We have relied on our home form in recent seasons, and we have been lucky enough to beat some really big clubs at the Liberty.
"We still have to make it a fortress, especially by beating the teams that are in and around ourselves.
"We haven't won here for a while now so it is important that we do that quickly. With that in mind, these next two games are the most important."
Following the end of the international break, attention now turns back to domestic action.
And today marks the start of yet another busy period for the Swans as Michael Laudrup's side play three games in the space of eight days.
But despite preparing for their 15th game of the campaign so far this afternoon, Rangel hailed the performances of his team-mates.
"We do look at the table," he said. "But at the same time, it's still early days.
"It is important, however, to pick up points quickly - not just for us but for the fans as well.
"But it hasn't been too bad so far. Seven points is not what we would have liked, but we have played three or four top teams.
"With our Europa League commitments we have played a number of games in a short period of time, and the performances have been great.
"We have created a number of chances in every game and we have been unfortunate."
The Swans suffered a 2-0 defeat at Southampton last time out - a result that leaves Laudrup's men with seven points on the board.
But with the squad currently battling on two fronts with the Premier League and Europa League, expectations are high in SA1.
And Rangel believes the Liberty Stadium outfit now has a formidable group of players at their disposal.
"Goals are the most important thing in football," he said. "But, I think overall we are looking strong as a team and as a squad.
"We don't give away too many chances to our opponents and I don't feel as though we need to be worried at all.
"We have a great forward line at the club now, particularly with (Wilfried) Bony and Michu up front, and Alvaro (Vazquez) coming in as well.
"We also have great wingers here that are creating chances and once we start winning games people will see the real Swansea again."
Rangel returned from injury in the defeat at St Mary's - a game in which the Spaniard captained the side.
The former Terrassa man is in his seventh season with the Swans, with over 250 appearances to his name already.
And the full-back revealed the range of emotion that overcame him during his brief spell on the sidelines.
"I can't stand it at all!" he said. " I feel very nervous and it's like I'm on the pitch with the rest of the players.
"I had a sprained ankle recently, which meant I was out for seven to ten days. But now I feel good and hopefully I can stay free from injury.
"I will always support my team-mates because I want my team to win."
It is perhaps fitting, then, that talk returns to winning and three precious points.
Today's opponents Sunderland arrive in SA1 with an unbeaten Premier League record against the Swans, as well as a new man in the dugout.
Following the sacking of Paolo Di Canio recently, Gus Poyet took over the reigns at the Stadium of Light with the club bottom of the table.
And Rangel knows the importance of today's game for both teams, but insists that the onus is on the home side to seize the initiative.
"It's always the same when a new manager comes in," he said. "All the players will be looking to impress and prove themselves.
"The manager will want to see who is in good shape going forward for them in their fight to stay up.
"Of course it is going to be a tough game, but we're at home and I think we need to take advantage of the situation.
"It is not easy when you are down the bottom, with the pressure building, and we have to be realistic and know that we have to win this game - it is like a cup final for us really."