Swansea City fans' Player of the Year, Nathan Dyer, showed exactly why he was voted for this season, with another sterling man of the match performance in the Npower Championship play-off semi-final first leg against Nottingham Forest.

Helping the Swans through with a resounding 3-0 victory in the return leg at the Liberty Stadium, to set up a mouth-watering final clash with Reading.

Givemefootball spoke exclusively to Brendan Rodgers and Swansea's pocket rocket, ahead of Monday's multi-million-pound Wembley showdown.
 



Q: Congratulations on getting through to the final Nathan. Tell me, how has the preparation been going?

A: It's been going very well. We've had a few days off last week, but are back in training now, getting back into the swing of things in preparation for Monday.

We're going away this weekend up to London, to spend a few days there and have a look around Wembley to get used to the stadium before the game.


Q: Going into the game, how do you keep the momentum with a considerable gap between the semis and the final?

A: I've been asked this question a few times before! Obviously, when you have momentum you just want to keep going, but the rest period is well needed.

After a long season the recovery is important so it's been good to get rested. Preparation is the key and the manager knows what he is doing to keep us sharp and get us fit again for the final.


Q: Your head-to-head record against Reading this season swings in your favour (1-0 victories home and away). Does this give the Swans a psychological advantage?

A: I wouldn't have thought so. I don't think Reading will take that into much consideration knowing that this is the final and anything can happen.

We've both done well to get where we are, so we definitely won't be taking them lightly. They are a good team who hold a threat all over the pitch and we need to look out for that.


 


Q: Where do you see the key battles shaping up on Monday?

A: I know we are strong going forward and all around the pitch we have got good balance. But they too have got a few players who can hurt us with real pace, so we will have to make sure we do our research. We'll plan to stop their threat, and play ourselves to win.


Q: Many say in the Championship play-off final you are playing for the biggest prize in football. Do you feel any added pressure?

A: Knowing that you're playing at Wembley is a big enough pressure anyway. Some players might not get that chance to play in the Premier League again so our main aim is to focus on getting there.

But it's an opportunity to play on the biggest stage in football, against some of the best players in the world, so of course there is pressure.

As a team we are very relaxed in preparation for the big games - games we've had to win this season, like against Forest in the semis, and I'm confident we can deliver and get the win on Monday.


Q: If you go on to be successful on Monday, are Swansea City Football Club prepared for the Premier League?

A: Definitely! I believe we play the best football in the Championship, and the manager has come in and bought the right players for us, and I've got no doubt we can do well.

The stature of the club is there to compete and I think if you look at the teams who went up last season, they have played with no fear and we can do the same, whilst also maintaining the same defensive qualities we've had this season.


Q: You mentioned the manager Brendan Rodgers there - what sort of manager is he?

A: He is a very good manager with great man-management skills. He talks to the boys and gets a feeling of how we are and what we need and that has been key. Sometimes we've needed a bit of a rest and he's given us that and we've come back a lot better for it.

His tactical skills have been excellent, second to none in fact. When the players go out on the pitch they know their jobs and exactly what to do to win football matches.


Q: The last 12-18 months, you are really starting to live up to your potential as a player - reflected by your Player of the Year award this season. What has changed?

A: The manager has given me the confidence and the freedom to play my own game, which has been massive for me this season. He asks me to do what I do best, get the ball and run at players and just enjoy it. He always makes sure that we all enjoy the games and enjoy playing football.

Being a bit smaller and playing in my position I've also had to toughen up a bit and develop my awareness and I feel I am now starting to fulfil my potential.


Q: And finally, what has been the highlight of your season so far?

A: Winning the semi-final and getting through to the final. This is the biggest stage I will have ever played on and will be the biggest game of my life so far.

We've been great as a team for a couple of years now. Back when [Roberto] Martinez was here, through to Paulo [Sousa] and Brendan Rodgers now. It's been a progression and each year we have got better and better.

We didn't really get talked about as much, we'd played good football but maybe not won as many games, whereas now we are showing we can do both. Hopefully now we can get to the Premier League and do the same.

It will be my first time playing at Wembley so will be a great occasion and I'm really looking forward to it. Fingers crossed we can get the result that all of Swansea wants!

Topics:
Football
Championship
Nathan Dyer
Swansea City