Read Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins' programme notes for today's clash with West Ham.
Good afternoon and a warm welcome to everyone here at the Liberty Stadium for today’s Premier League game against West Ham United.
Tuesday night’s FA Cup victory over Sheffield Wednesday was a very important game for us following on from last weekend’s defeat away at Brighton.
Personally, I think the FA Cup games have really helped us this season because I have always believed that quickly getting back to winning ways after a Premier League defeat is vital.
More important than that is the increased weekly focus, momentum and continuity it has brought to the whole squad, staff and players alike.
The lack of continuity caused by the regular breaks over the first half of the Premier League season in the last three campaigns has caused us big problems. And, in my view, an added winter break will only compound the issue further.
Football, from whatever angle you look at it, is the same very simple game we all played many years ago. Yes, many things within the game have changed, but the main ingredients remain the same and are the most important – commitment, motivation and teamwork.
It’s easy to forget that all the vital components every sports team tries to utilise in this modern world are only small ingredients that can hopefully assist staff to prepare a team.
Football is all about playing games – and lots of games in my view – to help coaches and players develop an understanding between each other and develop a strong pattern of play that can continually progress over time.
I firmly believe the FA Cup games have really helped in all aspects of our development as a team since Carlos and his staff took over at the end of last year.
A warm welcome also to all directors, staff, players and supporters who have travelled today from East London to support West Ham United.
Just like ourselves, West Ham changed their manager mid-season. It’s something many clubs in the bottom half of the Premier League seem to do these days as the pressure becomes more intense and the competition becomes harder with every Premier League campaign.
With 10 Premier League fixtures left to play this season, the remaining games will ultimately decide the final positions for every club in the division.
As always, you can usually discount the first 28 games as a warm-up, because it is when the finishing line is close that each team must fight to end up as high as possible and turn their season into some kind of success.
The race for us starts today. So, with solid focus from everyone and a little bit of luck, we can hopefully finish the season strongly.
Enjoy the game,