SWANSEA boss Garry Monk admitted many might have thought the Welsh club had headed to Wearside yesterday with little to play for.
And when the 35-year-old named a side with six changes – which included handing a full debut to 20-year-old defensive midfielder Jay Fulton – many might have thought the Swans’ manager felt the same way too.
But Monk, who last week signed a three-year deal as Swansea’s permanent manager after a spell as caretaker, said: “The truth is, we took the Sunderland game deadly seriously and we were delighted to get the win which gives us a really positive end to the season.
“It was something that we as a group had spoken about about during the week – that we were coming up to Sunderland for a really important game.
“We had something worthwhile to aim for – which was securing that 12th-place finish – and we’ve done it.
“And I think, all in all, it has been a very good season for Swansea, given everything that has gone on.
“We’ve been competing in the Europa League for the first time this season, we’ve had a change of manager, but we’ve still finished just five points behind our best ever points total, which is a very good achievement.”
Monk says he will look to strengthen the club in the summer, although his biggest challenge is likely to be trying to hold on to free-scoring Wilfried Bony – the Ivory Coast striker whose goal against Sunderland yesterday took his seasonal tally to 25. Nathan Dyer and Marvin Emnes also got on the scoresheet.
“I will look to add to the squad in the close season,” Monk confirmed.
“Obviously, clubs will be interested in Bony, but we’re in the fortunate position of not having to sell him.
“I’m sure we’ll keep him and I’m also sure that he will actually be a better player in the future.
“As for the game itself, it was a good performance from us and it was great to see three different goal-scorers on the score-sheet.
“We defended well and when we had our chances, we took them.”