PA Sport

St James' Park holds no fears for Carvalhal ahead of Premier League match

St James' Park holds no fears for Carvalhal ahead of Premier League match
By PA Sport

13/01/2018 at 06:34Updated 13/01/2018 at 06:41

Carlos Carvalhal has claimed St James' Park is "not intimidating" ahead of Swansea's Premier League relegation battle at Newcastle.

Swansea manager Carvalhal has fond memories of his two previous trips to Tyneside as Sheffield Wednesday boss.

The Portuguese masterminded a League Cup upset there in September 2015 when Steve McClaren was Newcastle manager and he repeated that 1-0 win against Rafael Benitez's side in a Sky Bet Championship fixture on Boxing Day 2016.

"My record against Newcastle does not mean we have an advantage for this game," said Carvalhal, who also enjoyed a Hillsborough victory over Benitez last season as the Owls completed a league double over the eventual champions.

"But it is a nice environment, it is one I like and I have enjoyed a lot.

"I don't think it is intimidating, it is a good ground, and we must look at this game as an opportunity for us.

"Sometimes the fans can stay a little nervous if the team is not in a good way.

"That is normal in strong crowds like Newcastle. But for this to happen you must play with personality and stay with the ball."

Swansea, like Carvalhal, have a good record on Tyneside, winning three and drawing one of their five Premier League visits there.

Although Swansea remain bottom of the league with 16 games left to play, there has been an air of optimism since Carvalhal arrived to succeed Paul Clement.

Swansea have beaten Watford and lost to Tottenham in his two league games in charge, while drawing in the FA Cup away to Championship leaders Wolves.

"To win a game like this you have to be organised, first of all, and your attitude and commitment must be strong," Carvalhal said.

"At the same time we must be confident in our ability to play our football when we have the ball.

"But I don't see the game as a threat or something negative. It is the opposite, a chance for us to enjoy and fight for the three points."

But Carvalhal does accept the game carries extra significance with both sides in the bottom half of the table.

Swansea are currently six points adrift of Newcastle, who have climbed up to 13th place after winning two and drawing one of their last four league games.

"You must take points off teams that are near you," Carvalhal said.

"This is not a decisive game, but we must progress and be competitive.

"It is important we don't look too much at the table because if you look at the things you do who knows how many you can win?

"To achieve that we must play better and better and jump to another level."