Alejandro Pozuelo admits he’s loving life at Swansea City as he prepares to help the club clear another hurdle in the Europa League.
The Spaniard’s arrival at the Liberty last summer may have snuck under the radar amongst a summer of big-money signings within the Barclays Premier League, but the midfielder has already shown his potential during 11 appearances under Michael Laudrup.
His biggest impact so far has come in the Europa League, taking just 13 minutes to score on his debut in the 4-0 home victory over Malmo.
Pozuelo would score twice in his first three appearances as a Swan, and he quickly settled into Laudrup’s plans following his switch from Real Betis.
Now, he is hoping to play another big role on the continental stage as Swiss side St Gallen arrive at the Liberty on Thursday (8.05pm).
The Swans are hoping to build on their opening Group Stage win at Valencia, which saw them emerge 3-0 winners.
And Pozuelo feels that result gives them huge hope of qualifying from the group.
“With a victory like that over a team like Valencia, it gives you motivation for the next games (in the group),” said Pozuelo.
“It was a dream start in the Europa League Group Stage for us, and when they had a player sent off we had an even bigger chance to win.
“It is difficult and too early to speak about goals but I think we have a very good team.
“I think we can achieve good things. Our goals right now are to get as far as possible in the Europa League and to claim a good position in the Premier League and improve on last year.”
With seven fellow Spaniards in the squad, the 22-year-old admits having his fellow amigos around has quickly helped him settle into life on and off the pitch in South West Wales.
“Everything is good,” he said via a translator. “The first month in the hotel was more difficult for the language, weather and different food. But once I adapted to the weather and I was with the people that I really care about, I felt good. I am very happy here.
“At the beginning it was very difficult to speak in English because I didn’t learn too much when I was in school. But I am working hard and, step by step, I hope to be speaking better English soon as I am having lessons.
“Angel Rangel has helped me a lot. I am very grateful to him - he has been one of the key people that helped me adapt so quickly.
“For me, I have adapted well to life here thanks to my team-mates and manager.
“The fans are very warm too - they always make you feel welcome and that has helped me settle here.
“It was a dream debut for me to go onto the pitch and see all the Swansea fans supporting us."
His dream debut also included a goal as he finished off a neat move to put the gloss on a hugely satisfying 4-0 win over Malmo.
And it was an immediate opportunity for the youngster to parade his goal celebration.
“Scoring a goal made me feel so happy," he added. "My celebration is one I used to do at Real Betis – I celebrated by creating a heart with my hands, and that is for my girlfriend.
“I have also celebrated by putting my hands together above my head, and that was dedicated to my former Betis team-mate Ruben Castro, who was injured at the time and I wanted to show my support for him.”
Pozuelo hopes to give his trademark celebration another showing when St Gallen visit the Liberty this Thursday as the Swans look to follow up that memorable 3-0 win at the Mestalla.
Despite strong competition for places out wide and in the attacking midfield role, the Spaniard has often been included in Laudrup’s plans.
But Pozuelo feels that level of competition for places is a healthy situation for the players and manager.
“It is good to be involved in so many different competitions,” he added. “With the strong squad we have, all players will have minutes.
“Thankfully, in the Europa League, I have played all the games while I have featured in every league match except Manchester United.
“So when the manager considers me for selection, I will always be there to perform the best as I can for him and the team.”
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