16:35 14th August 2013
. . . Euro games provides perfect preparation for league opener
Pablo Hernandez believes Europa League commitments will ensure the Swans will be finely tuned as they look to claim a first Barclays Premier League victory over Manchester United.
The Swans take on the defending champions at the Liberty on Saturday as the curtain raises for the top flight.
Following a hugely promising pre-season campaign, the Swans’ preparations went up a gear as they made progress into the Europa League Play-Off phase thanks to a 4-0 aggregate win over Swedish side Malmo.
And Hernandez, who has returned to training this week after he missed the second leg tie at Malmo with a groin injury, feels the Euro involvement has been a major benefit for the Swans in preparing for this game.
“The pre-season was perfect for us – we played very well and the new players fitted into the squad,” said the Spanish international.
“But the Europa League games really helped take us up a level. They were two very competitive games and we had to be sharp and show our quality to progress.
“When you start a season there is always the danger that you will not start with the intensity that you finished the previous season.
“But the Europa games have given us an opportunity to hit a high level very early in our preparations.
“And I think that is great for us because we face a massive challenge in the first game.”
Manchester United arrive at the Liberty with a new manager at the helm, while they have only made one signing this summer - Uruguayan defender Guillermo Varela.
And with Moyes replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, he admits it makes for an intriguing encounter in SA1 on Saturday (5.30pm).
“The top clubs have made changes with their manager, and that makes things even more exciting at the top of the league this season,” added the 28-year-old.
“Manchester United now have David Moyes in charge, and I think a lot of people are interested to see what tactics he will use.
“At Everton, he used different tactics to what Manchester United used. But I think he will mix things from his time with Everton and the way United like to play.
“Obviously we have a style in place here, and it will be very interesting to see how the game goes on Saturday.
“It is great for us to play the champions in the first game in front of our fans at the Liberty. Hopefully we are catching them at a time when they are still getting used to their manager and the way he wants them to play.”