Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Rodgers ready to defy expectations

Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers claims his Swansea players will "die for the cause" as they look to confound expectations and avoid a rapid return to the Championship.

Rodgers and his squad are preparing for their Premier League opener at Manchester City, after the 4-2 play-off final win over Reading in May catapulted the south Wales club back to the top flight for the first time in almost 30 years. But the bookies instantly installed the Swans as relegation favourites after their Wembley success.

They are huge underdogs ahead of the trip to the Etihad Stadium on Monday, but Rodgers insists his side will give their all to prove those predictions wrong, saying: "Our shirts weren't dry at Wembley when we were made the bookies favourites to go down. It has given us a cause and we will die for the cause. We need to work harder than we worked last season."

He added: "Our preparation and motivation has increased and the players will get their rewards, and come the last day of the season, if we are not good enough, it will not be for want of trying."

Swansea have been prudent in the transfer market this summer, which is understandable given the club nearly went out of business just eight years ago, but Rodgers has made six acquisitions in the form of record signing Danny Graham, Leroy Lita, Steven Caulker, Michel Vorm, Jose Moreira and Wayne Routledge.

The Northern Irishman believes the quality of his squad will surprise people, but knows it is vital his side retain their attractive style of play - even during any difficult periods in the season.

He said: "The players I have got in at this moment, I believe they have great quality. I like what they have done since I came in, they have given everything. Their work over pre-season has improved from last season and they are competing to play in the best league in the world.

"There is an excitement there and you are always a little unsure until you get that first win, you will also be asking yourself about your quality. But I know this group is more than good enough if we continue to believe in our philosophy and how we work.

"We have to have confidence because of how we play and the number of passes we make, we want players who are happy being on the ball and that means we need confidence.

"I have seen lots of good signs we can carry that forward but we know it will be a rollercoaster ride."

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