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LAUDRUP LINKED TO BARCA

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has been the latest to be linked with a move to Barcelona. This is after the Spanish club recently announced the resignation of Tito Vilanova from the managerial post due to his health concerns.

It was only a year ago that the 44-year-old was promoted from his role as the assistant manager. Barcelona usually look from within for the new manager. If it is not the case, then they try to appoint someone who has had the know-how of the club. Laudrup is one of the best known Barcelona midfielders and he is especially popular with fans.

He was one of the key players during the Johan Cruyff managerial era. He has been trying to adopt the lessons learnt from his Barcelona days in his managerial job at Swansea. He has had huge success in the one-year he has been at Swansea, as he has helped the club finish in the top half of the table and also lift their first major trophy. Laudrup recently got the approval from the owners to spend a lot of money in the hope of achieving the feats of last season once again.

He has said that he definitely does not want to take over the vacant managerial job at Barcelona right now because he is concentrating only on Swansea.

“I really can’t comment on that because you are asking me something I don’t know anything about. The club is still working on it, so he’s still in Holland. We gave him permission to train with Vitesse, otherwise it will be too many days without doing anything. Those are the things you have to cope with as well when you sign players from outside the EU, but I hope he will be here next week,” said Laudrup about the Barcelona links and his new signing Wilfried Bony.

SWANSEA HAILED

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has hailed the Premier league season that finished by saying that it was one of the best in the history of the club. The club managed to finish ninth in the table, but more importantly, they managed to win their first ever trophy.

They managed to beat Bradford in the final of the competition to win the first silverware of the history. Despite suffering a 3-0 defeat against Fulham on the final day of the season, Laudrup has said that the players can be proud of themselves and their achievements.

Many people were sceptical when Laudrup was appointed as the replacement for Brendan Rodgers. However, he has not only managed to keep the club in the Premier league – during the difficult second season, but he has also managed to win a trophy as well. This has led to rumours linking him with the likes of Everton over the last few weeks, but the former Barcelona midfielder has said that he is happy at the Liberty stadium. In their debut season in the Premier league under Brendan Rodgers, the club finished 11th and the season just finished has been even more impressive.

As a result of the ninth place finish, the club will be claiming up to £ 9 million in prize money from the Premier league.

“I’m not in the mood in the day when I lose a game but I’m sure in a week’s time when I look back at this campaign it has been incredible. It has been way above – talking about the league – what anyone could expect, finishing in ninth position. I’ve only been here 10 or 11 months but everybody says it is the biggest season ever in the history of the club, so I have to believe that. We can still improve,” said Laudrup.

FIRST DEFEAT

Swansea suffered the first defeat of the 2013 calendar year in the recent 1-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham, but the manager Michael Laudrup said after the match that he is not too concerned about this result.

The manager has seen Swansea go on an incredible run of form since the turn of the year. They have managed to secure a place in the League Cup final. They will be playing against lower league opposition Bradford city in this competition, which has made them the favourites to lift this major trophy after a long time. Andy Carroll scored the only goal of the game in the match against Swansea to send them to the first defeat of the calendar year.

Despite playing good football throughout the season, Swansea failed to make any clear-cut chances in this match. The West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen had a comfortable evening in the west goals. Laudrup has said that it is normal for the team to have an off day occasionally. He has praised the way the team has been performing over the last couple of months. He has said that the players did not do specific mistakes that led to the defeat. Due to the style of play adopted by West Ham, it was difficult for Swansea to get their own game going.

“I hate to lose games, but I can’t really say we did anything specifically wrong. We could have won 1-0 or it could have been 1-1. After they scored we came back, had a few chances to equalise, but we just have to accept it. We’re very difficult to beat. Nobody likes to lose. We’re not used to losing after the last seven weeks. They gave us more or less what we expected,” said the Swansea manager after the match.

IN FORM SWANSEA

The Swansea City attacker Danny Graham has been one of the inform players in the Premier league this season. His form has helped the club get into the top half of the table, while they are also in with a chance of making it into the final of the League Cup.

The 27-year-old recently scored a late goal against Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup to take the match into a replay. Swansea were in danger of being knocked out from the competition due to Arsenal’s late goals, but Graham replied with a late goal of his own to save the blushes of the Swansea manager Michael Laudrup.

Laudrup then said after the match that he does not expect the 27-year-old to leave the club in January because he has not received any bids for the player. This came after speculation suggested that there are a number of clubs reportedly interested in securing his services. Michu might have over shown Graham so far this campaign, but the 27-year-old seems to remain integral to the plans of Laudrup. The players recently expressed his frustration at not being able to start matches on a regular basis. He made 39 appearances last season and scored 14 goals, but he has made just 15 appearances this season.

“He is playing well and is important for us because he is scoring goals, but let’s see what he says. We’ve not had any official bids. I am going to speak to all players who are not playing regularly but I do not want to comment once I have spoken to them. If I am talking to the players it does not mean I am telling them they can leave,” said the manager. Swansea are expected to strengthen the squad during the January transfer window.

LAUDRUP LEFT HAPPY

The Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup has said that he is extremely happy with the performance of his players after they managed a spectacular 3-1 win over West Brom.

West Brom were coming into the match as one of the inform teams in the Premier league after having recently beaten Sunderland 4-2 to go three points clear into the fourth position. At this rate, they will be able to play in the Champions League next season. As a result, beating such as good team was extremely satisfying for the former Barcelona midfielder Michael Laudrup.

More than the victory, Swansea were extremely good in this match. Their performance pleased the manager, who has asked for them to maintain the same during the rest of the season. There appeared to be a small patch during the early part of the campaign when things were going extremely wrong for the new manager, but Laudrup has been able to establish things in recent weeks. Swansea have risen up to the eighth position in the table after being undefeated in the last five matches. Laudrup praised the performance of the players especially in the first half. He, however, has to deal with the injury to the influential midfielder Pablo Hernandez.

“It was the best I have seen for several seasons. It is not often as a manager you can sit and enjoy your team playing. Always during a game there are moments when there are things to improve, but the first half was fantastic – all 11 players played one-two touch football and everything was so good. It is a small muscle injury and how much it is we have to see in the next two days,” said the Swansea manager. The result does not dent the position of West Brom, as they remain three points ahead of Tottenham.

LAUDRUP CRITICISED

The Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has come under criticism in the last few matches due to the inability of the team to get the results. Swansea was extremely praised in the opening few matches of the campaign for the style of football and also for the extraordinary results, which saw them score a lot of goals.

However, the last few weeks have certainly been tough for the former Barcelona midfielder, who is known for his passing style of football. As a result, it is not surprising to learn that the former Getafe manager has said that he will not be changing his style despite the lack of results.

After opening the season with two wins out of the two matches, it has been five matches without a victory for Swansea. Even more alarming is the fact that they have conceded a lot of goals in these matches. Swansea have conceded more than two goals in all of the last five matches and many pundits reckon that it will be tough for the team to carry on playing this way and stay in the Premier league. Swansea recently managed a stunning comeback in the match against Reading. Swansea managed a 2-2 draw with the newly promoted club.

“Given the way we play, it could be easier if we just played direct every time. When you lose games and the confidence is not the highest, it would probably be easier to just pump the ball up there to the two up front and see what happens. But it is not the way we play and we will continue playing as we do. We have to do it this way, otherwise we will struggle,” said Michael Laudrup after the Reading match. Swansea will be facing the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea in the next three matches.

SWANSEA WANT TO KEEP SINCLAIR

The Swansea city manager Michael Laudrup has said that he wants the future of the star midfielder Scott Sinclair sorted out as soon as possible. The 23-year-old has been linked with a move away from the Liberty stadium throughout the summer.

He has only one season left on his current deal and he has been linked with a move to Manchester city. Rather than losing him for nothing, Swansea are looking to sell the player in the summer transfer window itself. Scott Sinclair could cost around £ 5 million for the Premier league champions. The former Chelsea winger has come on leaps and bounds in recent seasons.

It is thought that the Manchester city manager Roberto Mancini wants Scott Sinclair to replace Adam Johnson. The 25-year-old Middlesbrough winger has been linked with a move away from the club due to the lack of first-team opportunities. Scott Sinclair was not part of the starting line-up in the match against QPR. Despite his absence, Swansea managed a spectacular 5-0 win. Sinclair came on as a substitute in the match and scored the final goal. He was booed by the Swansea supporters when he was brought to the pitch by the manager Michael Laudrup.

“If something has to happen then at least the club has time to react. I don’t know, I have so many experiences with players and clubs with this transfer window. So nothing will surprise me in this world. We just have to see what happens every day. Every day can be a new day. I don’t know and maybe not even Scott knows what will happen,” said the manager after the 5-0 demolition of QPR, which helped Swansea move to the top of the table alongside Fulham. Swansea will be facing the newly promoted West ham in the next match.

BARTLEY JOINS SWANSEA

Swansea recently completed the signing of Arsenal defender Kyle Bartley. The 21-year-old has said that he wants to become a regular first-team player for Swansea city after making his move to the Liberty stadium.

Swansea managed to start the new season in the most spectacular fashion after a 5-0 win over relegation rivals QPR at Loftus Road. It was a great result for the new manager Michael Laudrup, who was in charge of his first game as the Swansea manager. Michael Laudrup’s presence at the Liberty stadium was instrumental in bringing the Arsenal defender Kyle Bartley, who has failed to make the cut at the Emirates stadium.

After his arrival at the Liberty stadium, the 21-year-old has said that he does not want to sit on the bench, but wants to be part of the first team. Kyle Bartley spent the last season on loan at the Scottish club Rangers, for whom he made 19 appearances during the entire season. He has said that the attractive style of play at Swansea was a major factor in sealing his move to the Welsh club. Kyle Bartley is one of the highly rated defenders in the country, but has found first team opportunities limited at Arsenal.

“It is the type of football I enjoy to play and I think I will get a chance to play here. It [the move to Swansea] is fantastic. It came about late on last week and it was a bit of a surprise to me. Once I heard Swansea wanted me it was so difficult a chance to leave Arsenal, but it was one that I felt I had to make. The massive attraction was the style of football we play and the manager coming in and his philosophy,” said the defender after sealing his move.

RODGERS RULES HIMSELF OUT

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers has become the latest to rule himself out of the running to take over at Liverpool in the summer. Liverpool recently sacked manager Kenny Dalglish after a poor finish to the season. They finished the eighth position, which will not allow them to take part in the group stages of the Champions League.

Due to the significant finances being present in the Champions League, Liverpool have not been able to compete against the best in the last two seasons. Since the sacking of King Dalglish, Liverpool have been linked with the likes of Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers, and Andre Villas-Boas.

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers, who also turned down the opportunity to join Chelsea in March, has said that he does not want to join Liverpool now. Swansea has said that they are extremely pleased with the decision of their manager. It has been a very few good years for Swansea, but it has been mainly due to the presence of Brendan Rodgers, who was a protégé under former Chelsea manager José Mourinho at the West London club. He has done a remarkable job at Swansea since taking over at the club a few seasons ago. They had defied expectations by finishing without any relegation troubles this season.

“If speculation comes with me doing the job well then I am flattered and honoured. However, this is the place I want to be, hopefully I can be here for the duration of my contract,” said Brendan Rodgers a few months back. He has not changed his decision in this short space of time. It is expected that the new Liverpool manager may get only about £ 30 million in transfer money, but there will be the ability to generate more by selling some of the underperforming players at the club.

NO MOTIVATION NEEDED

Swansea City on loan star Gylfi Sigurdsson has said that the club and the players do not need an extra motivation to meet Manchester United at Old Trafford and take points off the second placed team.

Swansea travel to Old Trafford knowing that they are safe in the Premier league, with very little remaining to achieve in the season. As a result, there has been suggestions that Swansea have taken the foot off the pedal into the last few weeks.

It was confirmed with the 4-4 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers a few weeks ago. Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini suggested a few days ago that Swansea will just roll over at Old Trafford.

However, Sigurdsson disagrees with Mancini by saying that they do not need the jibes from the former Inter Milan manager in order to motivate themselves ahead of the Old Trafford trip. Manchester United have the opportunity to go ahead of City in the table. City will be having a tough away match in the form of Newcastle, while Manchester United will be at home to Swansea. Getting ahead of City at this stage of the season will surely be enough for Sir Alex Ferguson, who has seen his side drop an eight-point advantage in the last four matches.

“I heard the comments but I’m sure it’s just a bit of mind games going on. We can’t worry about that, we will just train hard and look to get something from the game like every game we go into. Everyone knows it’s a huge game for them but it’s a game we want to do well in and perform in. It is the biggest club ground in Britain and any player would want to go there and put in a performance,” said midfielder Sigurdsson ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.