Today's media round-up
21st February 2014
Following a hugely entertaining 0-0 draw with Napoli, the media have reflected on the last 32 first leg tie at the Liberty.
Napoli skipper Marek Hamsik, keeper Pepe Reina and boss Rafa Benitez feature in interviews along with Swans captain Ashley Williams and head coach Garry Monk.
Swans proud of Europa League display
They failed to get the win their bright, inventive football probably deserved, but there was still a lot of pride in the Swansea City camp after their goalless draw with Napoli in the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie.
Following a display that had everything but a goal to show for some excellent approach play, long-serving Swansea midfielder Leon Britton said that the Welsh side had fulfilled their rookie manager Garry Monk's wish that they show no fear. As for Napoli's Pepe Reina and Marek Hamšik, they voiced their satisfaction with the result, if not the performance.
Pepe Reina, who came on at half-time to replace the injured Rafael Cabral, said: "The tie is open, but if you want to get through the minimum you have to do is win at home, and that is what we need to do now. Swansea played well.
"We knew what we were up against and they play good football, especially at home - they keep the ball and it is hard. We defended well and even had a few chances for an away goal, but, in the end, the best thing about tonight is the result."
Skipper Hamsik added: "It was a good result, but our play wasn't so good. We have to improve before next week and there is a lot to work on.
"Swansea dominated possession and protected the ball well.
"We didn't work hard enough and we have to be more positive."
Benitez impressed by Monk
Rafa Benitez admitted Napoli suffered against Swansea City - and claimed he was happy to leave the Liberty Stadium with a draw.
The Serie A side got a serious scare from Swansea who brought the best out of both Rafael and replacement keeper Pepe Reina after dominating this first-leg clash.
A place in the last-16 could still be on for Garry Monk's men, although they would have to pull off a huge shock of winning at the Stadio San Paolo.
But Benitez admitted he was impressed by Swansea's rookie boss, and conceded the last-32 tie is balanced and 'difficult for both' going into next week's second-leg in Naples.
"I don't think the goalkeepers saved us, I thought the team got us the result we have to be satisfied with," said Benitez.
"Playing against a team from the Premier League, we knew the rhythm would be different and that they played with a high tempo.
"We played well in the first half, but Swansea were pressing us well. The positives are that we did not concede a goal and the team worked well when defending.
"I am not totally satisfied, as we should have scored a goal, but we didn't create enough chances and we suffered because our positioning was not right.
"But it is positive to get a draw here. Swansea are fast, they played well and had good chances, but I think defensively my team did a great job against a side that attacked from start to finish.
"It wasn't easy to stop them. Without being fully happy I can be happy with the way we performed because it is difficult to defend against this tempo.
Asked of his first impressions of Swansea under Monk, the vastly experienced Benitez said: "It was a great game and his side did well and have shown what they have to do. If they carry on with similar things it will give them good confidence and from what I have seen it seems like he has a good future as manager."
South Wales Evening Post
Williams: Swans can cause shock in Napoli
Ashley Williams insists Swansea City can cause a huge shock by seeing off Napoli on their own patch and reaching the last 16 of the Europa League.
Swansea produced a superb display at the Liberty last night, outplaying the Italian giants but finding a goal beyond them as they drew 0-0.
But Swansea's skipper says all is not lost as they prepare for a trip to Napoli next Thursday.
"I think we are really pleased with the way we played," said Williams. "It says a lot that we are disappointed to come away with a 0-0 draw.
"The message was to get playing the Swansea way. We want to get on the front foot straightaway. It's going to be a tough game, we are under no illusions about that, but let's see if we can get on the front foot again and go through."
Dominant Swans restore British pride
After a miserable week for English sides in Europe, it fell to a Welsh one to restore a crumb of pride for the Premier League.
Swansea were outstanding against Rafa Benitez's Napoli side, even if they could not break the Premier League's Euro duck this week.
They outplayed their distinguished Serie A opponents and should have crowned their biggest European night with a victory to rank alongside their win in the Mestalla.
Garry Monk's men could rue their failure to score come next week's return. They were repeatedly denied by Napoli keeper Rafael Cabral and his replacement Pepe Reina.
"What a performance that was from us," said the Swans' boss. "One of the top teams in Europe, and the players have put in a performance like that. The word is wow!
All I worried about was us. I said before the game about putting a performance in we can all be proud of and I think the players more than did that. They can be really proud of themselves.
"It was important that we started well and showed our intent. We were on the front foot, and that got the crowd with us."