MICHAEL Laudrup has billed tomorrow’s trip to Southampton as “one of the key games” in Swansea City’s season.
Laudrup admits the Saints are in greater need of points right now than his Swansea side as they bid to climb off the foot of the Premier League.
But the Swansea manager has revealed that he earmarked the meeting with Southampton as a crucial encounter back in the summer.
“I look at the games and of course inside my head I have some key games,” Laudrup said.
“And for me, Southampton is one of those key games.
“I don’t know specifically about points targets now or when you get to halfway in the season, but there are some games which I see as being very important to us.
“I don’t like to use the word desperate because it is early in the season, but Southampton need to win.
“We don’t need to win like they do, but we want to win. There are key games in the season against teams who are just there with you in the table, and these are games where we need to pick up points.”
Southampton old boy Garry Monk looks set to lead Swansea out at St Mary’s as Chico Flores is still struggling with the dead leg he suffered at Liverpool nine days ago.
Swansea had been optimistic about Flores’s chances of featuring earlier this week, but Laudrup now rates the Spaniard as “very, very doubtful”.
That means the visitors are likely to be unchanged as they look to build on the momentum gained thanks to three strong performances against heavyweight clubs last week.
“If we can win we will have 15 points, and we could be ten clear of the bottom three,” Laudrup added.
“It’s important to be as far away from the danger zone as possible, because then maybe in February, March and April, we can try to get to 40 points and then see what we can do.”
Swansea’s recent successes have raised expectations about what they might achieve this season.
Barely a month on from those stories about dressing-room unrest, the Laudrup regime looks stronger than ever.
But the Dane is adamant that his expectations have not changed.
“When I came here I thought you could put teams into boxes,” he admitted, “and that hasn’t changed so much for me.
“I know there a couple of teams who surprised — West Brom and West Ham.
“But for me there are three teams who can win the league in Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs.
“Then you have a group with Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton and maybe Newcastle, and then you have the rest.
“There is not a big difference between the rest of the clubs. The rest can win and lose against each other — we can beat them all but we can also lose to them.
“But it’s way too early to talk about where we can finish or how many points we can get. We are only ten games into the season, and all I want is to make sure we keep showing the same kind of attitude we showed in the three games last week.
“If we do that, I think we have a very good team and there are possibilities to do good things.”