Swansea City v AFC Bournemouth: Monk preaches unity ahead of crunch clash

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Under-pressure Swansea City boss Garry Monk refuses to label his team's Premier League home match against AFC Bournemouth as a must-win encounter.

Since August's impressive 2-1 win over Manchester United, Swansea have won just one game from nine in all competitions.

At his pre-match news conference, Monk dismissed reports that he is on the brink of the sack as being part of an "agenda", criticising "irresponsible" reporting surrounding his job security.

Third-bottom Bournemouth would close to within two points of Swansea if they were to prolong Monk's misery with victory at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, but the manager insists his squad remains united

"I will let others say if it is must win. We just want to win it," he said. "It's a big game, at home, we have to be proud and come off saying we have given everything.

"In terms of my rapport with the club, I'm aware things need to improve, but we have always stuck together and that gives you confidence moving forward.

"I had criticism as a player, but it's more difficult as a manger. You take it personally because you are protecting people.

"But it won't take over my focus. I'm reflecting on what worked and what you need to tweak moving forward. That's my job."

Since netting the winner against Manchester United, striker Bafetimbi Gomis has failed to find the net but Monk – who at least boasts a clean bill of health heading into the contest – believes it is unfair to single out the Frenchman.

"Okay, he's a striker and you want goals, but this is a collective," the former defender said. "The reaction in training is that none of us are happy with not winning games. The commitment is there to put things right."

Bournemouth find themselves in the midst of a similarly barren spell, without a win since beating Sunderland in September and having lost their past four league games.

Nevertheless, manager Eddie Howe expects an attractive game between two sides who prefer an expansive footballing approach.

"I have long been an admirer of Swansea's philosophy and how they play the game," he said.

"Their story very much mirrors ours in terms of their journey from League Two to the Premier League - they've done it in real style."

Sylvain Distin is set to make his 450th Premier League start in the match, the most by a non-UK outfield player, and Howe was full of praise for the 37-year-old Frenchman.

"It's a huge testament to the way that Sylvain has looked after his body," he added. "I've not seen a better professional - everything he does is spot on, so full credit to him."

Captain Tommy Elphick (ankle), Callum Wilson, Tyrone Mings and Max Gradel (all knee) remain long-term absentees for Bournemouth.


Key Opta stats:

- Swansea have only lost one of their past six league meetings with Bournemouth, winning four and drawing one.
- Bournemouth have conceded 13 goals and scored two in their ongoing run of four Premier League defeats.
- Goalkeepers Brad Friedel (450) and Mark Schwarzer (514) are the only overseas players to have made more Premier League starts than Sylvain Distin.
- Swansea are without a clean sheet in six Premier League matches, their worst run since conceding in a seventh consecutive game in August 2014.
- Garry Monk's team have conceded 50 per cent of their goals this season from set-pieces - the highest proportion of any top-flight club.