Jono: Fans can play their part
15th March 2014
Jonathan de Guzman says the Jack Army can play a pivotal role in helping Swansea City to preserve their Premier League status.
The Swans begin their final ten games of the season this afternoon when they welcome struggling West Brom to the Liberty.
Pepe Mel's side sit just one place above the drop zone - level on points with 18th placed Cardiff - following just one win in their last 18 league games.
Swansea's home form has improved in recent weeks, with the side now unbeaten in their last four games on home soil.
But they had to settle for a point last time out against Crystal Palace, despite an impressive first-half showing.
After de Guzman himself opened the scoring, Glenn Murray rescued a point for the visitors as the Swans moved on to 29 points.
And ahead of another crucial game against a struggling side, the Dutchman cited the importance of the fans in helping the club secure top-flight football once more.
"Playing at home should help us a lot," he said. "We know the fans will back us for the whole 90 minutes and hopefully we can finish the chances that we create and win the game.
"They give us that extra strength on the pitch, and every time I play at the Liberty I feel good."
The Swans secured their first league win of this season against West Brom and will be looking for a double this afternoon.
Goals from Ben Davies and Pablo Hernandez saw Swansea run out 2-0 winners at the Hawthorns back in September.
Since then, however, both sides have experienced difficulties this season, as well as managerial changes at both clubs.
Steve Clarke was shown the door at Albion in a shock departure back in November, while Swans head coach Garry Monk took over from Michael Laudrup last month.
Spanish boss Pepe Mel took over the West Brom hot seat in January but is yet to register a win.
And de Guzman insists there is everything to play for at the Liberty Stadium this afternoon.
"It's a very important game," he said. "We wanted the three points against Crystal Palace, and I thought we were very unlucky towards the end of that game.
"But looking ahead to today, we definitely need three points at this stage of the season - and it's an important match for both teams.
"They (West Brom) need the points as much as we do, so I don't expect them to come here and sit back; I think they will attack.
"But we've been moving the ball around well lately and I think it will be a good game."
While West Brom suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United last time out, the Swans players enjoyed a break from the Premier League.
Following Arsenal's involvement in the FA Cup, last Saturday's game at the Emirates has been rearranged - a move which left the squad with a two-week rest.
And despite having to settle for a point in the last league game against Crystal Palace, de Guzman insists it was very much a point gained.
"Every point is crucial now," said the Dutchman. "And if you look back at the Palace game they could have won when we went down to ten men, but we also had enough chances to finish the game off in the first half.
"But when you consider the tiredness of the players after the game in Napoli just a couple of days before, it was definitely a point gained.
"But the break we've had now has allowed everyone to have a breath of fresh air and get ourselves fit again ready for the final ten games of the season.
"It's great to have those hectic weeks and big games, but it's also nice to have that rest period as well."
De Guzman himself has also found form at just the right time.
Despite scoring a crucial away goal against Napoli in the Europa League, the Swans came up short against the Italian side as their continental odyssey came to and end.
The Dutch international followed that up with the opening goal against Palace just three days later, latching on to Leon Britton's pass before coolly slotting home.
However, he was left out of the Holland squad for their recent friendly with France and ahead of this summer's World Cup in Brazil, de Guzman knows what is at stake.
"I'm just trying to work hard right now," he said. "I'm hoping to go to the World Cup this summer and go from there really. That's my main goal right now.
"Unfortunately I was left out of the last squad, but that was just a warning for me to work harder and to prove to the coach that I deserve to be in the squad."
The midfielder, on a second season-long loan from Villarreal, has a decision to make this coming summer about where his future lies.
After an impressive season last year that saw de Guzman score eight goals and Swansea lift the Capital One Cup, the midfielder has five goals to his name this campaign.
The pick of his goals is undoubtedly the unstoppable free-kick away at Valencia in the Europa League, while three goals in his last five games has boosted the Swans in recent weeks.
And the 26-year-old revealed he would be more than happy to stay at the Liberty Stadium beyond the current season.
"I'm happy here, I enjoy training here and we've got a great squad of players," he said. "Swansea has been my home for the last two years and I enjoy it here."
He added: "I feel good right now. We've been working hard as a team and I want to help out as much as possible.
"We've been trying hard on the training ground and aiming to pick up the points we need to climb the table.
"We've got ourselves in this situation, but if we stick together as a team and work hard then we should have no problem staying in the Premier League."