Rodgers ready for United test

BY foxsports • November 13, 2011

United have dominated the Premier League era and their turnover last year was £286million. Swansea on the other hand were on the brink of financial extinction at the bottom of League Two eight years ago. Now, even after winning promotion in the play-offs last year the club only turned over £10million. And whereas United will be preparing in the multi-million pound Carrington facility, Swansea will be training alongside members of the public at a Welsh health club. Rodgers though is relishing the challenge. He told the Mail on Sunday: "This club and this city have been waiting years to host such a great team, a great club and a genius of a manger. It will be a brilliant occasion and for me there's real excitement." Whilst trying to forge a reputation in the game as a manager Rodgers has had to deal with hardship. Just after he had been sacked by Reading his mother, Christina, died of a heart attack aged 53. "She went out on morning to get her hair done, eyebrows done, all that stuff that women do. She came back in at a quarter to 11 and my dad went out. He said he was going to get a plug and he was on his way home when this ambulance came flying past him. "He thought, 'Where's that going?' When he arrived down at our village and our house is just on the edge the ambulance was outside our house. My mum had collapsed and died." Just months after his mother's death, his father, Malachy, was diagnosed with lung cancer. As Swansea tried to find their feet in the Premier League, Rodgers missed the trip to Arsenal. He was 400 miles away in Carnlough, County Antrim, with his father as it became clear he wasn't going to make it. "To be with him as he took his final breaths, that was important to me. He died on the day of the Arsenal game. I had been with him as much as I could. "I was flying back to Northern Ireland every chance I had to spend time with him. Then, whenever it looked like he wasn't going to pull through, as much as I loved Swansea and as much as I love football, I needed to be with my father. "All of a sudden they're gone. There's a real empty feeling, you know. I spoke to them every day, sometimes you get into the habit to phone, in the car, away to a game." Swansea picked up their first Premier League win a week after his father's death, beating West Brom 3-0. Now the Swans find themselves in the top half of the table and were applauded off the pitch by the Liverpool fans after holding the Reds to a 0-0 draw at Anfield. "I said to the players afterwards. 'Write that down in your diary. November 5, 2011: You got a standing ovation from the Anfield crowd.' That doesn't happen often. I think it was a measure of our performance and the respect they had for our game." Rodgers side have been nicknamed 'Swanselona.' And the figures show that Swansea consistently out-pass their Premier League rivals, have more touches on the ball and pass more accurately - just like La Liga's finest. "My biggest influence has been Spanish and Dutch football, that Total Football idea," says Rodgers. "My father loved the Brazilian sides. He loved gifted players and I suppose when you're brought up in that environment, you swing more towards that type. He was always keen for me to be a creator and a technician so that was the influence for me. "The British type of football never suited me as a player. It was very much smash it up the pitch and play the percentages. "The only percentage I was interested in was possession and I didn't think it was rocket science. If we have the ball, you can't score, no matter how big or strong you are. I've always worked off that." At Reading as head of the youth academy, Rodgers coaching ideas were never absorbed by the club. At Swansea however Rodgers has got the team playing how he wants and the fans onside. "They understand what we're trying to achieve. But I could take this group of players to play the same football at other clubs and we wouldn't get the reaction we get from these fans. "We're in the business of winning, irrespective of style. We understand that we're a million miles away from other people in terms of budget, the size of the club and our resources. But we're here to compete."


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