23:26 12th December 2013
. . . sights on domestic matters after Euro qualification
Jonathan de Guzman insists the Swans’ European success can now allow the club to focus fully on domestic matters.
The Swans progressed to the last 32 of the Europa League after claiming second spot in Group A despite a 1-0 defeat at St Gallen on Thursday night.
Michael Laudrup’s side progressed to the knockout phase after Kuban Krasnodar failed to beat Valencia at the Mestalla, which meant the Swans finished two points ahead of the Russian outfit.
The draw for the next round takes place on Monday, with the first and second legs being held on February 20 and 27.
And de Guzman believes the club can now give their full attention to the Barclays Premier League – starting with Sunday’s trip to Norwich – as the Swans aim to maintain their top-half status.
“It was a relief to get through - now we can concentrate on the league for a while before our next game in the Europa League,” said the Dutch international.
“We could have made it a lot easier for ourselves in previous games. We could have qualified a lot earlier, but we didn’t get the results we were looking for.
“But we will take a lot from the Group Stage matches. Each match had a different experience for us.”
St Gallen claimed victory in foggy and freezing conditions at the AFG Arena thanks to a late Marco Mathys winner.
The Swans had gone close through Roland Lamah in the first half while Gerhard Tremmel had to make two fine stops after the break while the hosts also saw a Neil Taylor own goal disallowed for a shove on the stand-in skipper.
But de Guzman pointed to qualification – rather than the result – as the most important outcome.
“It’s all that mattered to me. We got through to the next round despite losing, while Kuban didn’t get the result they needed,” added the midfielder.
“It was very difficult to play here in the conditions, on top of our travel delay (on Wednesday), but we just needed to get through and we did that.
“It was a very tough night for us. They held it pretty tight at the back and made it difficult for us to make the final pass and get behind them, while they were lethal on the counter attack too.
“So it was a very difficult match, but we’re through and we’re delighted with that.”