Survival still the target for Swans

Swansea head coach Francesco Guidolin insists the Welsh club’s mission to secure their Premier League status is “not finished yet”.

Swansea: Survival still the target for SwansSwansea: Survival still the target for Swans

Although the Swans are currently 10 points clear of relegation danger, Guidolin has no doubt there is still work to be done.

Swansea on Saturday head to in-form Stoke, where they have never won in the top flight, while their remaining seven fixtures include appointments with Leicester, Manchester City, Liverpool, West Ham and Chelsea.

“The season is not finished,” Guidolin said. “It’s important for us to prepare and play well in every game.

“I think four points could be enough for us. The table is not 10 points clear (for Swansea) as Sunderland, Newcastle and Crystal Palace have to play one match more than us. They have a game in hand. It is not finished yet.

“There is a lot to play for in the remaining games.”

Striker Andre Ayew will again be absent this weekend as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury, although he is on course for a return when Chelsea visit the Liberty Stadium in eight days’ time.

And Jefferson Montero and Modou Barrow were due back in training on Friday following international commitments with Ecuador and Gambia, respectively.

While Swansea look to guarantee themselves Premier League status, eighth-placed Stoke are pushing hard for possible European qualification, and their resurgence under manager Mark Hughes is not lost on Guidolin.

“They are a good team having an important season,” he said.

“They have players of quality like (Ibrahim) Afellay, (Xherdan) Shaqiri, (Giannelli) Imbula and (Marko) Arnautovic. It will be difficult, but I trust my team and players, and I expect a good performance.

“Mark Hughes should be congratulated, because he has done a very good job at Stoke.

“I remember when he played for Chelsea against Vicenza in the (European) Cup Winners’ Cup (semi-final in 1998). I was manager at Vicenza. We won 1-0 in the first leg, and then led in London, but he scored the final goal in a 3-1 (Chelsea) win.

“He was a really good player, and now he is doing very well in management.

“They play very well, and this is a good season for Stoke. They can play freely now because of their position.”

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