Guidolin challenges Swansea to make history against Chelsea

Ian Watson

Francesco Guidolin has challenged his Swansea players to make history against Chelsea on Saturday.

Swansea have never beaten the Blues in the Premier League and suffered their heaviest home defeat in 24 years when the champions romped to a 5-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium last season.

Although Swansea did manage a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season, Chelsea’s last league defeat in this fixture came in an old second division meeting at the Vetch Field in April 1981.

Chelsea’s hopes of European football next season remain a faint prospect, but they have not lost in the league since Guus Hiddink took charge in December.

“We can change our history – we have that possibility,” said Guidolin, who has already overseen Swansea’s first-ever league win over Everton during his short stay in south Wales.

“Chelsea are a good, important team and they have not lost (in the league) under Hiddink. But we can play well and produce a good match.

“I think we can play with aggression, courage and character. No fears. What happens, I don’t know, but we can play like this.”

Guidolin is accustomed to being the underdog during a 20-year coaching career in Italy’s Serie A.

In a league where the likes of Inter, Juventus. Milan and Napoli are expected to win, and usually do, Guidolin says he cherished upsetting the elite at the smaller clubs he managed.

He even outwitted Juventus in their 1995-96 Champions League-winning season when his Vicenza side shocked opponents which included Alessandro Del Piero, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Gianluca Vialli and the next Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

“I won these games with Vicenza, Bologna, Palermo and Udinese,” said Guidolin.

“When I was at Vicenza and we beat Juventus the Italian league was the most important in Europe. But I was fortunate it did happen (beating the top teams) a lot of times for me.

“Here it is more difficult for the top teams because every match is open, every match is more difficult. In Italy it is more tactical, but here I can see that the smaller teams can beat the top ones. It is very different.”

Swansea inched closer to safety last weekend by drawing 2-2 at Stoke, despite being 2-0 down inside the final quarter.

The draw took Swansea to 37 points, 10 clear of the relegation zone, and within three of the survival target that Guidolin has set his players.

“We want three points for safety, if we win it is complete I think,” said Guidolin.

“In the first half at Stoke we were in situations to be dangerous, but we lost the last pass in the final third. In the second half we played well with freedom and more concentration, intensity and conviction. I was happy with it.

“The players had greater urgency and believed we could get a result, and now it is possible that we can beat Chelsea.”