Today's media round-up

26th February 2014

The focus in today's media is all on Thursday night's Europa League tie in Naples.
There's interviews with Napoli boss Rafa Benitez and striker Gonzalo Higuain while Garry Monk and Michel Vorm give the view from the Swans camp.

South Wales Evening Post
Monk: Swans can handle red-hot Napoli welcome

Garry Monk has told his players to brace themselves for a red-hot reception at Napoli's San Paolo Stadium - but insists Swansea City can cope.

Swansea will run out in front of sizeable home crowd in tomorrow night's Europa League round of 32 second leg.

But Monk is convinced Ashley Williams and Co have the character to handle the big occasion.

"There will be a bit more intensity out there with the crowd behind them - I understand they will have a big crowd - and it will be a hostile environment, so I imagine they will play on that," said Swansea's head coach.

"We have to be ready for them. As players, everyone experiences those atmospheres.

"It might not always be on as a big a scale as what we will face at Napoli, but these players have played in front of 80,000 or 90,000 people so they should be able to deal with it. It is part of their job."

Swansea flew out to Italy today without Michu and Jonjo Shelvey, but Ben Davies was on the plane after missing last Sunday's defeat at Liverpool with a calf problem.

Michu is now aiming to rejoin full training next week after returning to Spain for treatment on his ongoing ankle problem.

Wales Online
Higuain claims Swans clash 'is a final'

Napoli's star striker Gonzalo Higuain has cranked up the pressure on Swansea City by describing tomorrow night's Europa League clash as 'like a final.'

The Swans fly into Naples today Wednesday and are expecting a hot reception from fans of Rafa Benitez' team and Higuian's comments will do little to cool things.

Talking to Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli, he said: "Swansea have already shown their quality and we will have to maintain our concentration if we're going to come out victorious.

"For us, Thursday night is a final."

Following Sunday's disappointing 1-1 draw against Genoa, in which Higuain scored, the Serie A title now seems out of reach as Benitez' charges lie 15 points adrift of leader Juventus.

Higuain added: "We have to learn our lesson, especially since this isn't the first time it's happened."

South Wales Evening Post
Benitez expects another high intensity Swans performance against Napoli

Rafa Benitez reckons Swansea City can dig out another high-intensity performance when they face Napoli tomorrow night.

Garry Monk's men outplayed the Italian heavyweights at the Liberty in the Europa League round of 32 first leg and then delivered another big display at Liverpool last weekend.

And despite the fixture pile-up, Napoli boss Benitez believes Swansea will be at full tilt once more in the decisive second leg.

"I watched the Swansea game (against Liverpool), it had the usual level of intensity," he said. "They have a strong enough squad to play against us with intensity too."

Benitez has come in for criticism after Napoli drew 1-1 at home against Genoa on Monday night.

"The final pass is the most difficult and I do agree that is a problem, as we worked so hard to reach the edge of the box and then it goes wrong," Benitez added.

Wales Online
Vorm warns Swans stars to expect hostility like never before in Napoli

Dutch goalkeeper Michel Vorm has warned his Swansea City teammates about the "different" hostility levels to expect in Naples tomorrow night - and that's just the bus journey to the ground!

Previous European matches involving Napoli have witnessed crowd trouble and the club's Ultras element have an unsavoury reputation both at home and abroad.

Swansea City fans - around 800 of them are expected in Naples for the Europa League tie - are being urged to travel in groups, avoid public transport and not wear club colours away from the Stadio San Paolo.

And the welcome is set to be just as warm for Garry Monk's squad who know an away goal could prove decisive with the last-32 tie perfectly balanced after last Thursday's Liberty Stadium stalemate.

But, in Vorm, Swansea - who are again expected to be without injured striker Michu - do possess one man who has previous experience of a noisy Neapolitan night in Europe where he actually kept a clean sheet for his former club Utrecht.

"It was 0-0 there and a bit of a similar story as it was also in the Europa League," said Vorm.

"At home then we played and drew 3-3 - but they had a pretty amazing squad and it was a great experience for a lot of boys.

"It's intense, but that's why I love football. It gives me much more energy than games that are quiet.

"I love those games, they are the ones you want to play in."