Swansea City 'technically excellent' says St Gallen boss Saibene
SWANSEA City go into their Europa League clash with St Gallen tonight (8.05) as favourites to finish top of Group A, according to the Swiss side's coach Jeff Saibene.
After recording heavy qualifying round wins against Malmo and Petrolul Ploiesti, Michael Laudrup's men began the pool stage with a shock 3-0 win over Valencia at the Mestalla.
That saw them surge to the summit of the early standings, ahead of St Gallen on goal difference after they beat Russian outfit Kuban Krasnodar 2-0.
And Saibene reckons Swansea are now frontrunners to win the group and qualify for the tournament's knockout stages.
"For us this is a huge challenge, we are playing against an established Premier League team who are technically excellent," he said.
"We are outsiders in this game, but we have come here to give it everything.
"The Valencia win was a surprise, it was a very convincing win and that shows the strength of the team.
"Maybe Valencia were not on form at the time, but that result shows the high level at which Swansea are playing at.
"They are favourites to win the group."
While Swansea go into the game after a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal last Saturday, St Gallen are on a 12-game unbeaten run.
They reached the group stages after defeating renowned side Spartak Moscow over two legs and are also in good form domestically.
In striker Goran Kranovic they also possess a forward who has scored nine times already this season.
That total includes two second-leg strikes against Moscow and three in a Swiss Super League clash triumph over Lucerne three days later.
"It wasn't just the game against Kuban that has given us confidence, we also had two games against Spartak Moscow," said Saibene.
"When the draw was made we weren't really given much chance of getting through, but we beat them in a good way and that has given us confidence.
"Now we've had 12 games unbeaten, so obviously we'll go out there and show what we can do.
"We do have to adapt to our opponents, we can't be that naive.
"We've done lots of research and we've seen lots of videos, but we are going to go out and play our own game."
Swansea are again likely to ring the changes tonight, with a Premier League game against Southampton following on Sunday.
Captain Ashley Williams misses out with an ankle problem, Garry Monk has an issue with his knee, while Angel Rangel is also doubtful because of an ankle injury.
Pablo Hernandez is still nursing a thigh complaint, while fellow winger Roland Lamah won't feature because of a toe problem.
"They don't play like a typical British team, they are more technical," added Saibene.
"Maybe that's down to Michael Laudrup's influence. They are a very good team, I think that's been proven so far.
"We are not going to fear anyone, although we respect the whole team.
"Michu is a good player and Swansea are very good going forward.
"We just have to concentrate on our own game. Our team will be quite hard to judge by the British public.
"The Europa League is unpredictable and anyone can beat anyone."