Ash: Top performance is vital
7th August 2013
Captain Ashley Williams insists a polished performance in Malmo on Thursday night would be perfect preparation for the Swans' Barclays Premier League opener with Manchester United.
The Swans hold a 4-0 advantage over Swedish side Malmo ahead of their Europa League third qualifying round second leg at the Swedbank Stadion (6.45pm UK time).
A fine display in the first leg at the Liberty means Michael Laudrup's side are strong favourites to advance to the Play-Off phase.
But Williams insists the team know they can only get the job done if they put in a performance similar to that from the first leg.
And the 28-year-old believes a positive display on Thursday night would be ideal preparation ahead of the opening league game against the champions.
"It has been a strange pre-season because of the European games - it is new to us as a club," said Williams. "Seeing the Europa League logo on the changing room door was a strange, but satisfying, feeling.
"It is great for us because we have two very competitive games in Europe before we start the Premier League season. It allows us to work on certain thing before the Manchester United game.
"But the only way we can go into the game against Malmo tomorrow is to forget the score from the first leg and work on the performance.
"We are going out to win the game, but the performance of the team is just as important to us."
The opening game between the sides saw club record signing Wilfried Bony score twice on his competitive Swans debut, while Michu and Alejandro Pozuelo also found the net.
And Williams pointed out the impacts made by £12million signing Bony and fellow summer signing Jonjo Shelvey have helped make the Swans a stronger side this season
"When I look at us compared to last pre-season, I believe we are stronger this year," Williams added.
"Looking back at the first leg against Malmo, we had Jonjo and Wilfried and it gave us more of an attacking threat.
"There is a lot of competition in this squad, and it is pushing us all on."