'It's unique that we all live in and around Swansea — every day in your working life you're among the fans'
SWANSEA City have long been lauded for their attractive passing football, but club captain Garry Monk reckons the 2-1 win over Fulham was the product of a "unique" team spirit.
Monk came into the side as one of seven changes from the Boxing Day draw at Reading, and the 33-year-old gave an authoritative display as the Swans repelled a Fulham onslaught in a frenzied second half.
There had been reports of unrest in Michael Laudrup's squad earlier this season, but a string of stirring performances and 28 points from their 20 Premier League fixtures to date have silenced such rumours.
"I'm so proud of the boys," said Monk. "They threw their bodies in the way and everyone put themselves on the line when they (Fulham) were coming on strong.
"I've said it all along, it's unique that we all live in and around Swansea. Every day in your working life you're among the fans, whether it's going to the shops or getting on with your daily life.
"You feel how much the club means to them and I've been there a long time so I understand it, but even the new boys coming in do.
"I'm not saying that's the biggest factor but it's just a unique thing for us. For years, especially for new players, they've realised how close we are when they come into the group.
"We're a close-knit unit and one thing we always show in every game, no matter what the score is, is that spirit. That spirit came to the fore on Saturday and helped us get over the line."
There was a prime example of Swansea's team spirit in the away end at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Despite not being in the matchday squad, centre-back Chico Flores travelled to West London and watched the game as a fan.
"There you go. He's a new signing and he's sat in the stands," said Monk. "I didn't see him but a few of the boys said he was sat in there somewhere.
"That's what I mean. How many players in the Premier League would you see sat in there with their own fans? I don't know what happened to him — maybe he got a burger or something!"
New signings such as Flores, Michu, Pablo Hernandez and Jonathan de Guzman have featured prominently in Swansea's excellent first half of the season.
And although Swansea may come as something of a culture shock, Monk believes the speed with which they have settled has been integral to the team ethic at the Liberty Stadium.
"The crowd try to bring them into their arms straight away," he said. "They've got the songs for them straight away — I remember in pre-season they were singing the new boys' names.
"The foreign boys were a bit surprised, it's different over here. You play for the fans, whereas in Spain you're just playing for the clubs.
"Over here, you're playing for the fans and they buy into it straightaway.
"I think it's part of the scouting system we have at Swansea, where they try to look at the character of the player, make sure he fits in with the group and that he's not a loner or a maverick.
"It's not the be-all and end-all but I think it's a vitally important part of getting results like we do."