Pablo Hernandez: I can help guide Swansea City in the Europa League
PABLO Hernandez believes he can help guide Swansea City on their Europa League journey because of his vast experience of cross- border competition.
Swansea take on Romanian side Petrolul Ploiesti in a play-off round first-leg match at the Liberty tomorrow, with the overall winners progressing to the tournament's group stages.
Hernandez has twice previously got as far as the quarter-finals in this competition, and also featured in Champions League campaigns while in Spain.
The winger was with Getafe, then managed by Michael Laudrup, as they reached the last eight of the Europa League's previous incarnation, the Uefa Cup, in 2008, before losing out to Bayern Munich.
And he got there again two years later, this time beaten by Atletico Madrid when playing for Valencia.
With those credentials, Hernandez reckons he has a responsibility to assist those in the Swansea squad who are sampling European football for the first time.
"I think I can help the team and help the other players having been in this competition before," he said.
"I played in the Europa League for two years and two years in the Champions League.
"I am not the only one, there are others here who know what it is like, so it is up to those with experience to make sure we help others because it is important for us.
"The most important thing is making sure we go to Romania with a good score, and if we can get to the groups anything is possible.
"It is an opportunity for us, but the most important thing is to first get through these two games and see where we can go."
Swansea brushed Malmo aside in the previous round, winning 4-0 on their Europa League bow before producing a disciplined performance in Sweden to draw 0-0.
But their domestic campaign got off to a losing start as Manchester United won 4-1 in SA1 last Saturday.
Next up in Europe Swansea face a Petrolul outfit who knocked out Wilfried Bony's old side Vitesse Arnhem to set up this two-legged clash.
The first match takes place in Swansea tomorrow before a return in Romania seven days later.
"We cannot forget the Premier League and we have a hard game in between these matches," said Hernandez.
"After losing the first match we have another big team in Tottenham and it's not an easy start for us.
"But I think the team can go to Tottenham and win and show we can win away in the next two games.
"We always play the same way, the same football. The team won't change their mentality for a new competition — we will stick to what we do.
"The most important thing is to have confidence in the team, the squad we have, the football we play and we can win a lot of games.
"United wasn't good for us, but in the past we have shown we can hold our own against the big teams and can beat anyone."
After an injury-hit first campaign in South Wales, Hernandez was looking sharp in pre-season.
He then suffered a groin problem that kept him out of the games against Malmo.
The Spanish international returned from the bench against United and is now looking to start tomorrow.
"It was good to be back but it was disappointing to lose," he added.
"But it was the champions, a very good side, so we have to realise that.
"We had confidence before the game but it wasn't possible to get the result and it was a hard score for us to take.
"Now we have an important match in Europe and our thoughts are only on this game.
"My injury is okay. It was disappointing to miss games but I can play now and I have confidence and want to help the team.
"We must make sure we have a good result from the first leg before going to Romania."