Garry Monk is thankful for the opportunity given to him by Swansea City, to whom he holds no bitterness over their decision to sack him.
Monk will forever be associated with the Swans, having served them as a player for a decade before succeeding Michael Laudrup as manager in February 2014. This was initially on a temporary basis, but when the 36-year-old steered the Liberty Stadium club to Premier League safety with a game to spare he was handed a three-year contract.
Better was to come last season as he led them to an eighth-place finish with a club record haul of top-flight points, but it has been a different story this time round. Despite beating Manchester United in August to climb into fourth position Swansea have won just one of their last 11 matches, which resulted in Monk being dismissed last week.
“I totally respected his decision,” he told The Times. “Of course it was difficult. I felt we would turn things round, we had everything in place to do that. I’d like to have been given time to turn it round, which I felt confident of doing, but I’ve nothing but respect and gratitude for that opportunity. It was a great opportunity in the highest and toughest league in the world.
“Overall it was a success. I honestly don’t feel sad about it. The last 22 months, I learnt so much. No other club in the Premier League would have given the club captain that opportunity to take the club in that situation, with 13 games to go, two points above the relegation zone. They were brave, they deserve credit for it. Of course I trusted myself.”
Alan Curtis was placed in temporary charge following Monk’s sacking, and he was close to recording an impressive 1-1 draw at Manchester City before Yaya Toure’s deflected shot won the day for the hosts late on. It is understood former Argentina and Chile head coach, Marcelo Bielsa, is the first choice of the club as they seek a permanent successor.
Chairman Huw Jenkins is thought to have flown out to South America to hold discussions with the 60-year-old, who is available after leaving Marseille earlier this season. Current Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli, who is on the three-name shortlist for FIFA World Coach of the Year alongside Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique, is another reported target for the Swans.