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Laudrup discusses Swansea’s gameplan for Chelsea clash

Michael Laudrup, Swansea City manager. Picture: John Walton/EMPICS Michael Laudrup, Swansea City manager. Picture: John Walton/EMPICS

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
6:35 PM

Michael Laudrup has encouraged his Swansea side to be bold and not sit on their 2-0 lead when they host Chelsea in the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.

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Swansea stand on the brink of a first appearance at a major cup final after they stunned the European champions with a smash-and-grab raid at Stamford Bridge in the first leg.

Michu and Danny Graham grabbed the goals to put the south Wales club within sight of Wembley and stoke up the excitement within the city.

Laudrup has been quick to play down expectation levels, and has pointed to Chelsea’s excellent away record as evidence the tie could yet get away from his side.

And the Dane knows attempting to simply hold on to their advantage could be a recipe for disaster.

He said: “They have been much better away that at home.

“They won 4-0 at Stoke, they got five against Southampton and against Leeds. They also won at Everton, so they are maybe the best away team in the Premier League.

“It is different to start a game from 0-0 rather than 2-0, but the only danger is if we think can go out and just defend, 90 minutes is a very long time to do that.

“We have to be prepared to do a little of both. We have to try and get on the ball and look to attack, although we know there will be moments when we have to accept we will have to defend.

“For me and the players this is fantastic, and I would imagine it is for fans as well.

“We’re not a club can pretend we go into these games very often, so now we have a possibility, a fantastic chance and we will do our best, and more than that if we can.”

Laudrup has been boosted by the availability of centre-half Chico Flores, who excelled alongside Ashley Williams in the win at Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard had been struggling with a knee injury and missed the weekend win at Stoke, but Laudrup confirmed he is ready for action.

He said: “He trained well yesterday so I think he should be fit.

“With a knee injury you can never know how bad it is, it can be anything from a few days to a couple of months so we are quite lucky.”

Tomorrow’s game in front of a packed Liberty Stadium is arguably the biggest in Swansea’s history, with the play-off final win over Reading in 2011 and the victory over Hull in 2003, which preserved the club’s league status, the other possible contenders for that mantle.

Laudrup admits it is difficult for him to grasp the magnitude of the game for Swansea having only been in charge for seven months, but the reaction of others at the club has left him in little doubt.

He said: “I’m looking forward to it. It is something special.

“I have been asked a lot how important this game could be, but I’m not the right person to ask because I have only been here seven months.

“It is much better to ask the people who have been here five, 10, 15 years or more.

“I have our wins at Anfield, the Emirates and Stamford Bridge but this is different because we are a club who don’t often get the chance to compete for trophies and suddenly we have a possibility.

“I imagine even for people who have been around this club for a long time this must be one of the most important games.

“Maybe one or two could be bigger, but it would be very high on the list.”

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