Swansea City boss Francesco Guidolin is backing Fernando Llorente
6th August 2016
Francesco Guidolin has tipped Fernando Llorente to thrive in the Premier League after watching the World Cup winner make his Swansea City debut in the 1-0 win over Stade Rennais.
Despite the fact that he only completed his move from Sevilla on Friday night, Llorente went straight into Guidolin's startling line-up for Saturday's final pre-season friendly.
And the Spanish international frontman made a promising first appearance in Swans colours, lasting 58 minutes and almost snatching a debut goal when his close-range shot came back off the post.
With the Premier League opener at Burnley just a week away, Guidolin felt it was important for Llorente to get game-time under his belt even though he is yet to train with his new team-mates.
"Fernando asked me yesterday if he could play 30 or 45 minutes," Guidolin explained.
"I asked him if it was possible to play longer. He said yes and I chose with him to begin the game with him.
"He needs games. He needs to play football with our team because it's a new team for him.
"I decided to do it this way because the most important thing for him now is to play games."
Llorente will get the chance to get to know his new colleagues a little better in the build-up to the Turf Moor trip.
The 31-year-old's arrival at the Liberty has given the Swans a welcome boost after the club's long search for a new frontman.
"I am happy (to have Llorente) because he is an important player in Europe," Guidolin added.
"He is a good player - I remember him from when he played in Italy with Juventus. He is a good signing for us.
"I think he can do well in the Premier League because it's the first time for him in this league and his motivation and enthusiasm is big."
Llorente was one of a number of Swans players to come close to scoring as they dominated against Stade Rennais.
Modou Barrow was another who hit the woodwork, the substitute driving against the crossbar after cutting in off the right flank.
But it was another man who came off the bench who grabbed the winner, with Jay Fulton nodding home Barrow's corner just seconds after he had replaced Leon Britton.
The victory means the Swans head to Burnley having triumphed in six of their pre-season friendlies.
"This was a good game against a good team. Rennes are a good team and we played a good match," Guidolin said.
"Now pre-season is finished. Next week we have to be ready for the first important game in the Premier League.
"I am optimistic, I am confident. We are doing well in training sessions, we are working hard.
"Today our legs were not very good, but that's normal in this period. Everything is okay now, but next week is the most important week in this first part of the season.
"All teams have to be ready for the Premier League.
"Normally in pre-season I prefer to play well and lose all the games, because that's better for the character going into the first league game. We have won, but I am happy."