Unselfish Ki lays foundation for Swansea success
Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng admitted he was happy to sacrifice himself for the good of the team as the South Korean's surprise switch to centre-back was rewarded with a League Cup winners' medal.
Swans manager Michael Laudrup asked Ki to play out of position in Sunday's League Cup final 5-0 win against Bradford because he was missing regular centre-back Chico Flores due to injury.
With the Premier League team certain to dominate possession against their fourth tier opponents, Laudrup wanted a player comfortable on the ball to fill in alongside Ashley Williams at the heart of Swansea's defence.
The 24-year-old was up for the challenge and spent the three days leading up to the Wembley showpiece undergoing a crash course in the art of defending.
"Being centre-back was interesting. The main thing was to move the ball quickly and I think I did well at the important points in the game," Ki said.
"I didn't expect to play centre-back but the gaffer asked me and the most important thing was not to let the team down. I have been studying for the last three days.
"I don't care which position I play. The most important thing is that I do something for the team. I sacrifice for the team. It's a great feeling."
In truth, Ki needn't have bothered brushing up on his defensive skills.
Swansea were so superior to Bradford that it took Phil Parkinson's team 87 minutes to get a shot on target, by which time the former Celtic star had already been substituted with the game long since won.
Ki was booked for a foul on Bradford forward Nahki Wells in the first half but other than that incident he hardly needed to break sweat against the overawed and out-classed minnows.
"We did better than we expected," Ki said. "Everyone played well today, especially the front four. They were all dangerous and got their goals."
Ki admitted his first appearance in an English cup final had been a dream come true, especially since the trophy was the club's first piece of major silverware in their 100-year history.
"The fans are amazing. There will not be many chances in my life to play in front of over 80,000 fans," Ki said.
"I just wanted to win the game for the fans because they always support us and it is the first time the club won something like this."
As well as marking the club's centenary in style, Swansea have also guaranteed themselves a place in Europe for the first time in 22 years and Ki, who turned his back on Champions League football with Celtic to join the Swans in August, believes competing in the Europa League will be a valuable experience.
"No-one expected us to get into Europe through the league so this was a great chance for us to make it and thankfully we have taken it," he said.
"It will be good for the club to get the chance to play in Europe. It will be a good experience for us.
"The team spirit is getting stronger all the time. In this cup we beat Liverpool and Chelsea in some very tough games.
"We have always been very well organised and everyone is working hard. Now we just want to finish the season well and get as high as possible in the league."
Meanwhile, Spanish forward Michu claimed his goal, which came just before half-time to put Swansea 2-0 up, was the killer blow for Bradford.
Michu, who at �2 million has proved undoubtedly the bargain buy of the season, said: "It was the key before half-time. I think the game finished a little bit with this goal. Then with the third goal and red card it was all over.
"We scored five goals and played very well so we deserved it. They are a good team but we are in the Premier League and they are in League Two."