Monk praises Swans effort

2nd March 2014

Garry Monk said he "couldn't have asked for more" after his side were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

After taking a first-half lead through Jonathan de Guzman, the Swans were rarely threatened until Glenn Murray equalised from the spot after the hosts were reduced to ten men when Chico Flores was sent off for bringing down the striker as he bared down on an open goal.

Throughout the first-half, the hosts controlled proceedings and were rewarded for their efforts with a deserved lead when de Guzman latched on to Bony's pass before slotting past Julian Speroni.

But the heartbreak moment came deep into the second period when Murray capitalised on a defensive error by the Swans, skipping past Vorm before being brought down by Chico as he looked to hit home into an empty net.

Replays show that Chico's initial challenge was in fact outside of the box, but referee Mike Dean awarded Palace a penalty for the foul, while Chico received his marching orders.

Murray made no mistake from 12-yards by keeping his composure to earn the visitors a share of the spoils.

Speaking after the game, Monk praised his side for their effort and commitment after a busy month of fixtures for the Swans. 

"I couldn't have asked for any more from the players," said the Swans head coach. "I knew the second-half would be difficult for the boys physically. 

"We've had illness in the camp over the last few days. Bony's been ill, Ash was sick all last night and Pablo felt his hamstring in the first minute.

"Ash was ill today and has two badly bruised toes, but it shows his character and the leader that he is that he continues to play.

"In terms of what we've been through over the last month and the amount of games we've had, I couldn't have asked for more.

"In the second-half we didn't pass the ball so well, but we dug so deep and when we went down to ten men, we dug in again. 

"The penalty was outside the area. The lead up to the incident we should have dealt with better - we caused our own mistake with the situation with the long ball - but it's very hard to take for those players after the effort they gave.

"For me, I guess the next best thing if you can't win a game is to make sure you don't lose it. If we would have lost the game, it would have been an injustice.

This afternoon's result means the Swans sit in 14th position in the Barclays Premier League table, just five points above the relegation zone.

But Monk feels his side will be more than fine if they continue to put in the performances that they have been displaying over recent weeks.

"If we continue to show the commitment and appetite to win games, we will be fine," added Monk. "Nothing is ever given to you, we have to earn it. But the players are willing to earn it.

"I don't think there are many teams who can perform to the level we have been recently.

"It's frustrating that we're not getting what we deserve. To put that amount of effort into games and not get rewarded, it's frustrating. 

"I feel sorry for the players that they haven't got more to show for their efforts, but it's a positive for them that they get this break now and we go back to weekly games where it's a Saturday-Saturday.

"They can rest now, spend time with their families and make sure they're ready to come back and get ready for the West Brom game."

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis was pleased with his side's point after a difficult first-half against the Swans.

"We've worked all week at counter-attacking a side like Swansea," said Pulis. "It was my fault for the first-half performance. 

"It's difficult to play against teams who play with three in midfield and control the ball like Swansea do.

"Swansea are one of the best passing teams in the league, and the best passing teams will murder you if you don't match them up in midfield. 

"In the second-half we played more on the front foot and made them defend more. The longer the game went on, the more dominant we became.

"Swansea are an established Premier League club, and we are delighted to come here and get a point."