Brendan Rodgers: 'Make Swansea City proud until the last kick of season'
BRENDAN Rodgers has challenged his players to make Swansea swell with pride right through until the last kick of the season.
Rodgers says he can sense the pleasure felt by fans even in the wake of defeat at Tottenham because of the strides Swansea City have made this term.
And the Northern Irishman has told his team they must ensure their Premier League adventure remains packed with highs until the end.
"I bumped into some supporters this week and it's been interesting listening to the talk around the city," said the Swansea manager.
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"They told me how proud they are. They had gone to London for the weekend and they felt proud walking round in their Swansea shirts.
"They told me they were spoken to by a number of different people who weren't Swansea fans but who all praised Swansea because of what our players have done. They praised Swansea because of our performance level — because of the style and the efficiency with which we have played.
"I think what we have done this season has given our supporters a real sense of pride, and that's important because that's one of our values."
Swansea have given their followers plenty to smile about in recent times, first by winning promotion to the top level and then by settling in with some aplomb. Not only have they got results in the top tier, Rodgers's men have done so by playing attractive football.
And Swansea have managed all that despite the fact that their budget is minuscule compared to those of most clubs among the elite. "I think our supporters sense the mismatch we face in nearly every game and they appreciate the effort our players have put in," Rodgers added.
"People aren't talking about us being the underdog in a game now, but our fans always remember we are because they understand where our players have come from. They know we don't have the resources.
"We will play Newcastle on Friday, and it's not even talked about that they have spent £9 million on (Papiss) Cisse, £5 million on (Yohan) Cabaye and £5 million on (Davide) Santon. But that just shows you how far our players have elevated themselves and their club this season.
"We just have to deal with that — our aim now is to keep that feeling of pride going right through until the end of the season."
After back-to-back defeats, Swansea hope to get the result against Newcastle which will take them through the 40-point barrier.
Swansea are well clear of the relegation places despite their recent setbacks, but Rodgers is aware that a number of demanding tasks are in front of them.
"We have seven games to go, four at home and three away, and we want to make sure the season finishes well for us," he said.
"We have had a little spell of tough games. We have another against Newcastle and then arguably even tougher games after that against sides who are really fighting.
"What we have to do is keep our motivation high, keep believing and aim to finish as high up the league as we can."
Rodgers has reported no fresh injury concerns ahead of Newcastle's visit.
Steven Caulker is available having been ineligible to face parent club Spurs, while Nathan Dyer will again battle Wayne Routledge for a start on the Swansea right.