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Huw Jenkins: Michael Laudrup is the perfect man for Swansea City

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 05, 2012

  • Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins is delighted to see Michael Laudrup enjoying success at the Liberty Stadium

  • Michu celebrates his second goal at the Emirates in Saturday’s fabulous 2-0 win

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HUW Jenkins reckons Michael Laudrup is the perfect man for Swansea City — because he knows how to keep expect- ations in check.

Jenkins argues that Swansea have added "a different dimension" to their game under Laudrup this season.

And he is convinced that Swansea's players now believe more than ever before that they can compete with the Premier League's top sides.

Jenkins, in upbeat mood following last weekend's spectacular win at Arsenal, can sense an opportunity to achieve something extraordinary in the top flight this season.

But the Swansea chairman admits that for now, Laudrup's experience will be key to the club's hopes of continued progress.

"I know what Michael is like having worked with him for a few months," Jenkins says.

"He has had enough highs in his career to know what's needed to remain focused and win games when you do have some big wins and big results.

"I think he is the right personality to control us, to stop us running away with ourselves and thinking we can win the Champions League in two years!

"We are all pleased and excited about where we are.

"But personally I am very pleased for Michael, who has made a big commitment to come in and join our football club from abroad.

"He has put his neck on the line in our country by coming to work with us in South Wales, and he has brought his family to be in and around the football club.

"I am sure he was very proud of what he witnessed last Saturday. I hope it gives him that encouragement and belief that at this level we have got a good group of players.

"I am delighted for him that things have settled down and that everybody seems to be enjoying it."

Swansea set out this season with the primary goal of preserving their top-tier status, but their form in the last couple of months has been good enough to justify loftier ambitions.

Laudrup's team have lost only one of their last ten matches.

As a result, they host Norwich City this weekend knowing a victory could lift them into the Champions League places, and then battle Middlesbrough for a spot in the Capital One Cup semi-finals a week tonight.

Exciting times — and all a far cry from the dark headlines which were doing the rounds as recently as early October.

That was when speculation emerged suggesting there was unrest in the dressing room, that some players were not happy with the new managerial regime in SA1.

Jenkins admitted at the time that one or two squad members had discussed the situation with him — but insists now that the whole story was a fuss about very little.

"The same stories exist now as then — if you want to make stories of them," he says.

"Anybody who doesn't play regularly is not happy in football. They are strange if they are — you don't want players like that.

"You will always get stories like that, it just depends on what people make of them and how they portray them."

Suffice to say that Swansea's managerial switch did not happen without a glitch, but that things are running pretty smoothly right now.

In fact, Jenkins concedes, the latest change of manager at the Liberty has worked out better than he could have hoped for when he offered Laudrup the job back in June.

"We have had a lot of changes," he adds.

"Many people outside the club, and probably some within the club, felt we were in for difficult time with not only Brendan (Rodgers) leaving but about five players from our regular starting side last season going as well.

"That meant there was a lot of work to do and, with the experience I have gained, we know full well things take time to settle in.

"But I am very, very pleased for Michael, the staff and the new players about how quickly things have come together. They all seem to be enjoying it and we're getting the right sort of headlines, which is obviously what we want."

Part of Swansea's success so far in 2012-13 has been down to the tweak in tactical approach overseen by Laudrup.

"I had numerous discussions with Michael to get views on how we could improve, how we played last year and how we could add to that," Jenkins says.

"I do believe, especially in the last few games, we have shown that we've added a completely different dimension to the way we play, which certainly makes us competitive.

"It probably makes us a bit more unpredictable because there is more variety in the way we play.

"You add to that a few good signings who have adapted very quickly to the Premier League and it gives us a fighting chance."

With 23 points taken from their 15 league games this season, Swansea are on course to break through the 40 barrier at some point in February or March.

As he attempts to stay calm when some are getting carried away, Jenkins insists reaching the traditional safety mark is, as ever, the primary goal.

But the Swansea chief admits there is a chance for someone outside the usual suspects to shine in the Premier League this season.

"We have had one defeat in ten games, which was at Manchester City, and the opportunity is there to keep us moving forward and keep competing in every match, which we have done recently," Jenkins says.

"I believe that over the last few games our players have started to believe they can win games against the biggest sides, not just that they can go and play well.

"When I watched last Saturday I really felt that right through the team, our boys felt they could win that game.

"When you look at the league we know the standards are very high and there are a lot of big clubs in the division.

"But I think Manchester City and Manchester United are way beyond the majority now and that there's not much consistency coming up behind them from the other so-called big sides.

"I think it's been said a lot that the opportunity is there for anyone in the top 15 sides to get stuck in, play well and have every chance to do well between now and the end of the season. Whoever has a good run and competes will do that."

The aim for Jenkins, Laudrup and the rest is to make sure that team, or one of them at least, is Swansea City.

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  • Philosoraptor  |  December 06 2012, 12:37PM

    I would love to see Swansea do all it can to make ML and his family feel right at home, the first thing is to convince the council to replace the Welsh language on road signs with Danish. Thats because: a) I am crazy. b) It would annoy the hell out of the Neo-Nat Western Mail readers. S.T.I.D.

    |   8
  • KP287  |  December 05 2012, 8:31PM

    I also think Cradiff airport should be looking to start flights between Cardiff and Copenhagen.

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  • KP287  |  December 05 2012, 8:30PM

    I totally agree with Huw Jenkins sentiments, I think and have said before Swansea have found their manager and ML has found his club. He has always said he is not looking to manage the top teams, he is more focussed on football, he is like royalty in Denmark is not short of a bob or two, so does not appear to have an ego to satisfy. As long as we keep progressing as a club i think he will stay and you never know, it is not impossible (if you look over the years) for a small club like Swansea to win FA or League cups, qualify for Champions league or Europa league. I don`t think I would be saying this under any other manager we have had.

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  • CroJack  |  December 05 2012, 6:56PM

    Many people forget that Michael Laudrup came to Swansea not only because of stylish football they play, but first of all because of Hew. This is the first time in his managerial career he is fully supported by a clever chairman. Laudrup left Brøndby, after he had won Danish League, when Brøndby's president Per Bjerregaard refused to transform Brøndby F.C. from semi-professional to a fully-professional football club. With Laudrup Brøndby was a top club, now it is at the bottom of the Danish League trying to avoid relegation. It was Laudrup giving the youngster Daniel Agger chance to play for the first squad, and it was Laudrup who scouted Johann Elmander in Sweden. After Laudrup, Brøndby appointed Renee Moulensteen, Manchester United's first coach, as a new manager, but when he came out with the same diagnose as Laudrup did, he was sacked immediately. He is still Manchester United's first coach. Getafe, normally doomed to relegation, while Laudrup was there, played excellent football, reaching Royal Cup final and quarter final in UEFA Cup, and beating both Barcelona and Real Madrid. But, Angel Torres, Getafe's president, didn't allow Laudrup to decide which players should be bought and sold. Laudrup complained about the situation and lunatic Torres punished Laudrup in a most humiliating way. When Laudrup asked club's administration for family tickets to Royal Cup's final, Torres placed Laudrup's family at a corner of the stadium while player's wifes got places in a lounge together with club's officials. What to say about Spartak Moskow? A club with huge expectations, but no money. No money, no funny. Laudrup was told that there would be money to buy new players and strengthen the squad. When he came there, he got a clear message from Valerij Karpin, a powerful Football Director, that there would be no money to spend on new players. After 7 months Laudrup was sacked and Karpin took over. Later, former Valencia coach Emery was appointed as manager in Spartak Moskow, and Karpin did the same thing to him. When Laudrup came to Mallorca, the club was totally ripped off for money, under administration, surviving on the mercy of the local bank. Everybody said - mission impossible. Mallorca not only survived in Primera, they took points from Barcelona and Real Madrid. In Spain, a manager is in charge only in Barcelona, Real Madrid and a couple of other clubs. In the rest of the clubs presidents and football directors are Gods. Mallorca's vice-president and director of football, Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, did everything wrong when Laudrup was there. He sold best players, and didn't do anything to find replacements, although Michael Laudrup urged him to do that. When Laudrup got angry, he started a campaign against Laudrup through the local newspaper El Mundo. Laudrup was described as the worst manager in Mallorca's history etc. Why am I writing all this? Because Hew Jenkins is a perfect match for Laudrup. Finally.

    |   17
  • GorsseinonJoe  |  December 05 2012, 4:39PM

    I believe Huw Jenkins is very modest about his own role at the club, this posting is not to knock anyone else's comments, all of which are correct and positive. Buy without Huw Jenkins we may never have had, Martinez, Sousa, Rodgers or Laudrup on board and with them we have really got people in football thinking about the way football in the UK is played. He has brought real talent to an unfashionable club who were almost extinct 10 years ago, can you imagine the sales pitch for anyone to come to Swansea? Well done and thank you Mr Jenkins, I hope you are around for a long, long time.

    |   16
  • sunnywhite  |  December 05 2012, 2:15PM

    ML always has and will be a winner

    |   9
  • Lynbaz  |  December 05 2012, 12:32PM

    Michael Laudrup is the key. He was a brilliant appointment. Every time I see him in the media, I think what a truly great ambassador he is for our club. Intelligent, articulate and modest, he is everything that I love to see in a manager. On the footballing side, his experience and influence is obvious. Combine that with a talented playing squad who are translating his coaching into some memorable performances and you have to ask the question; has there ever been a better time to be a Jack?

    |   25
  • swanseaola  |  December 05 2012, 12:29PM

    I feel so HAPPY for the supporters,Michael Laudrup,Hugh Jenkins the board of directors and the players. The Philosophy is such an important base for the growth of the club.The club have got this right and strive to fit all aspects of the team to fit around it. C'mon the SWANS.

    |   9
  • daiswan  |  December 05 2012, 8:47AM

    Huw Jenkins, the Board, the Supporters Trust have all contributed massively to 'who we are' and because of that team we are the envy of many clubs. Add to the mix a great manager and staff, good players who share a fantastic attitude then little wonder we are doing so well. All these factors come together and it's not surprising so called 'big money players' rarely do the business if they are attracted away from us - Trundle, Scotland, Leon (and he is so grateful he had the chance to come back) deVries etc didnt set the world alight and even Joe Allen isn't the player he was and rumour has it Scott Sinclair has been told he can find another club. Cant imagine Michu wanting to move on so soon and with a mate like Rangel he'll get solid advice. Rangel and Ash typify all that is best with the Swans (and Monk and Tate to be fair) so long may it continue. Exciting times!

    |   26

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