Belfast Telegraph

Ki still targeting seventh heaven

Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng has warned Southampton the race for seventh place in the Barclays Premier League and a potential spot in Europe is very much on.

Southampton's surprise 2-1 defeat at lowly Sunderland on Saturday opened the door for Swansea to make a late charge for Europe after their 2-0 home victory over Stoke.

Swansea are now only four points adrift of Southampton with three games remaining and seventh place could be enough for Europa League football next season if Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup final.

"I think it's not impossible that we can challenge for seventh position," Ki said after his scoring cameo from the bench against Stoke.

"Of course, we have some tough games left and it will be difficult.

"But we have done very well against big teams this season and we will keep pushing ourselves as hard as we can."

Swansea's next test is at Arsenal on May 11 before the visit of Manchester City and a trip to Crystal Palace concludes their campaign.

Southampton finish with a trip to in-form Leicester, a home game against Aston Villa and visit Manchester City on the final day of the season.

"Maybe people think we will let up in the next game against Arsenal because we won on Saturday against opponents just behind us," Ki said.

"But two years ago we won 2-0 up there and we beat them earlier in the season.

"So we'll try to get the double, like we did against Manchester United."

Ki's injury-time finish was his eighth goal this term and made him the joint-top scorer still at the club, with Wilfried Bony having scored nine times before his January move to Manchester City.

"This has been the best season of my career," said the South Korea international.

"I didn't expect I could score so many goals this season but first off I want to make sure I help the team.

"We want to do well in the next two games because they are massive."

Defender Ryan Shawcross insisted Stoke are determined to finish the season on a high, even though what would be the club's highest Premier League finish of eighth now looks a remote possibility.

The Potters dropped to 10th after losing in south Wales and their final three games includes visits from Tottenham and Liverpool and a trip to Burnley.

"We have got some difficult games to play but there are still nine points to play for and we need to finish the season strongly," Shawcross said.

"Obviously we were looking at Swansea as a chance to get three points, but that's not happened, so we've just got to focus on our last three games.

"We've done pretty well and it's actually been a pretty good season for us as a club.

"I am sure the gaffer will have some money to spend in the summer and we will improve the squad and be even better next season."


From Belfast Telegraph