21 August 2022 |

Ceri Phillips wants Swansea City to finish UEFA Women's Champions League on high


Ceri Phillips wants Swansea City to end their UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign on a high note and take it into their opening Genero Adran Premier fixture.

The Swans are unable to progress to the next qualifying round following their 2-0 defeat against Greek hosts AC PAOK on Thursday.

The defending Genero Adran Premier champions will now round off the mini-tournament with a third-place play-off against Hungarian champions Ferencvaros on Sunday evening.

And, despite not being able to progress, Phillips hopes his team can sign off with a competitive performance before their league opener against Cardiff Met in two weeks.

“We’ve spoken as a coaching staff about what’s the best way to approach a third against fourth game," said Phillips.

"But the girls will set their own high standards, which has always been the case over the years. We’re confident they’ll approach the game in the right way and aim to go out the same way we did against PAOK.

"We want to be ourselves and approach it as we want to when we get back home. I told them before the game against PAOK that the results this week don’t define our season but the performances set the tone.

"I think that was the case in the first game and everyone bought into that, so regardless of results it’s going to put us in a strong position come 4th September."

The defeat against the defending Pan-Hellenic champions PAOK, who have lifted the Greek title in 16 out of the past 17 campaigns, came in sweltering conditions, with the temperature hovering around the 38 degrees celsius mark in Katerini.

This is the sixth time that some of the Swans' players have competed in Europe, and they believe the temperatures in Greece are the highest they've ever played in.

But Phillips was satisfied with how his players dealt with the conditions against PAOK.

"I wasn’t the one running around so I can only sympathise and try to relate.

"The girls said they felt playing in Cyprus was the hottest they’d ever experienced until now. A lot of the players said that first half on Thursday against PAOK was the toughest half of football they’d played in heat-wise, so I totally sympathise with them.

"These teams playing at home are fully acclimatised to it, so the girls did their best in the conditions, and in the second half when the temperature dropped a little bit we started to be more like ourselves.

"We’re really proud of how they handled everything in terms of the heat and other things that are factored into a Champions League game abroad."

The game against Ferencvaros will kick-off at 9:30pm local time, which Phillips hopes will benefit his team.

"I think it’s beneficial and we hope it’s going to help," he added.

"From experience, it should make it slightly easier, but it’s still quite hot even then and it’s going to be a tough task overall."