Garry Monk has promised a show of unity from his players as Swansea attempt to get their season back on track against Bournemouth.
Swansea’s alarming slump in form has brought only one win in nine games and put manager Monk‘s position under increasing scrutiny.
The Swans were filling a Champions League place after beating Manchester United at the end of August, but nearly three months on they find themselves down in 14th and only five points above Saturday’s Liberty Stadium visitors, who occupy the final relegation spot.
It is a slide which has prompted some reports that Monk, who last season led Swansea to their best-ever Premier League finish of eighth with a record points total, is close to the sack.
But Monk has dismissed that speculation as being caused by “outside influences” and says his only focus is on reviving the team’s fortunes.
“It’s important we show our unity, character and strength, and that comes from myself and the players,” Monk said.
“What I’ve seen from them over the last two weeks, since the Norwich game, is exactly that.
“They’re determined to put it right as much as I am and the club is, and I think you’ll see that unity from the group.
“They’ve been really confident and focused in training this week, and that’s what they’ll show on Saturday.
“There’s a great attitude from the players to put this back on track, they are a committed group and I expect to see a reaction.”
Swansea and Bournemouth last met in the third tier of English football in April 2008 when the Cherries won 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says he sees similarities in his club’s rise to that of Swansea, but Monk feels the pressure is greater in south Wales.
“They’ve just come up but we’ve been in the league for five years now – and after what we achieved last season expectations are very high,” Monk said.
“When we don’t reach those expectations it becomes difficult and frustrating.
“But the best way to send a message to people is back out on the pitch and be brave.
“That’s what I’ve tried to do this week, put that belief back into the group.”
Monk, however, says Bournemouth’s current situation – the Cherries have failed to win in six league games to drop into the bottom three – does mirror Swansea’s own run of form.
“It’s similar to ourselves in that they’ve had a run of results where they could have got more goals and points,” Monk said.
“But I’ve been impressed with them as I see a confidence within the group and they work very hard for each other.
“They are going through a difficult period but I don’t see any negativity to their play.
“They’ve had serious injuries to important players and that makes it more difficult for any team, but they have a large enough squad to cope with that and get good backing from their owners. So I don’t envisage that as a big problem for them.”