Tour talk: Ashley Williams
4th July 2013
Ashley Williams has revealed how the Swans are preparing for their most challenging campaign yet.
With Europa League commitments and interest in three domestic competitions, the 2013-14 season promises to be a demanding campaign for the Swans.
Michael Laudrup's side have an adventure on the continent to look forward to next month before the Barclays Premier League gets underway.
Then there's the defence of their Capital One Cup crown while there will also be FA Cup commitments come January.
After a brief break, the Swans' pre-season plans are underway with the squad currently in Holland for a four-game tour.
And Williams has underlined how crucial this summer's preparations are as the club prepare for what he feels will be the toughest campaign to date.
"Last season was a long, demanding campaign, which took a lot out of the boys," said the Wales international. "So it is great to get away from it all and just relax your body and mind.
"I had around two week off before I was back in the gym to ensure I was ready for the demands of pre-season.
"Any pre-season is important, but maybe this year it is even more important that everything is perfect.
"We will be playing in the Europa League in around four weeks' time, and if we can make it through to the group stages then there will be a lot more games on the fixture list.
"That's great for us, because we want to be as competitive as we can be in the league, the FA Cup, the Europa League and the Capital One Cup - especially as we are the holders.
"And even though we have improved every season, I think this year will be the hardest we will have faced in the top flight so far."
For the new campaign there will be a number of new faces within the squad, including Spanish trio Jordi Amat, Jose Canas and Alejandro Pozuelo.
They joined fellow countrymen Angel Rangel, Chico Flores, Pablo Hernandez and Michu at the Liberty following their recent moves from Espanyol and Real Betis Betis.
And following the success of the latter four, Williams is hopeful the new trio will play a big role for the club this season.
"Everyone has seen the impact the Spanish lads have made at this club, so we're hoping Jordi, Jose and Alejandro can do the same," said Williams.
"Obviously I haven't seen them compete in games yet as they've only recently joined, but I can already see from training that they are all technically gifted players who are suited with the style of the team.
"They've settled into the group well too."
With Jonathan de Guzman returning on loan for another season, the Swans midfield has been boosted further following the signing of Liverpool and England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.
The 21-year-old met up with his new team-mates today before heading straight to the training pitch for this afternoon's session.
And Williams, who has faced Shelvey on a number of occasions in the last few years, believes the Swans have made a shrewd move in the transfer market by snapping up the former Charlton starlet.
"Jonjo is a quality signing for us," said Williams. "We know what he can do as we've played against him a number of times, while he has represented England as well so that proves his quality.
"It's such an exciting time to be a Swansea fan. Everyone has enjoyed the massive success the club has tasted recently, and now we are looking forward to another exciting adventure."
He added: "Expectations may have been surpassed, but we can't live on that success.
"We have to start again and put in the hard work - and that hard work starts now."