'We must learn from Bilbao'
Gary Richards hopes Swansea City Under-23s will use their experience in the Premier League International Cup when they face Villarreal B in Landore tonight (7pm).
The development side were knocked out in the group stage of last year’s competition following a 2-0 defeat by Athletic Bilbao in their final game.
They endured a difficult night against the Spaniards, conceding twice late on and finishing with nine men after having two players sent off.
However, Richards believes the young Swans will be stronger for that experience as they prepare to kick off this season's competition with a game against another Spanish side.
“The players who were involved in the Bilbao game will have learned so much from that experience,” he said.
“There were a couple of poor reactions in certain situations, but we’ll definitely expect to be better at that this year.
“We were disappointed last year to go out in the group stage because we always look forward to the competition.
“Our main aim for this season is to be as competitive as we can.”
Richards has urged his players to do all they can to claim victory tonight as they look to get their Premier League International Cup campaign up and running.
“We know how important it is to start well,” he added.
“These games will be big learning opportunities for our players. Some of those who are with us at the moment won’t have experienced playing against international teams, so they’ll be looking forward to it.
“Whatever happens in the first game doesn’t mean you’re through or out, but it certainly makes qualification easier if you can start with a positive result and that’s what we’ll be trying to get.”