MICHAEL Laudrup has revealed that Wilfried Bony has been put on his own training programme as Swansea City look to get the best out of their £12 million centre-forward.
Bony has scored seven goals since his big-money summer move from Vitesse Arnhem.
But the Ivory Coast international has been left out of Laudrup's first XI in Swansea's last two Premier League matches — and has managed only four top-flight starts to date.
Bony's lack of game-time is puzzling given the fee Swansea stumped up to get him on board — and Laudrup's pleas for the club to sign a new striker during the close season.
Now the Swansea boss has suggested Bony is suffering following a disrupted pre-season.
"We're talking with him," Laudrup explained.
"He's something of a special case for a lot of reasons.
"We all know when you have a huge price tag on your shoulders there's always a lot more pressure and expectation on you — that's logic.
"From the start Wilfried came here and with all the things (going on) he didn't have a proper pre-season.
"Then after we signed him he had to stay away for nine days before he got a work permit so he hasn't had a proper pre-season.
"He started playing and in some games he did well, especially the European games and a couple of others.
"But of course we want him to be at his best because I'm the first one knowing the expectation and that everyone is looking at him.
"We are here to help him and that's why we are trying to give him a programme where we are doing extra things with him — to get him at his best.
"I think he understands that so maybe in some games he is not there. Of course everybody wants to play all games, but what we are doing is trying to get him up to his best condition so we can see the best of Wilfried."
Laudrup started with Alvaro Vazquez up front against Sunderland last week, but the young Spaniard is yet to score a goal since arriving on a season-long loan from Getafe in August.
At Cardiff on Sunday, both Vazquez and Bony began on the bench as Michu started up front.
Swansea's talisman came off with an ankle injury, however, meaning there are bound to be opportunities for Bony and Vazquez this week.
Swansea play Kuban Krasnodar in the Europa League on Thursday before hosting Stoke City in the Premier League next Sunday.
It would be a shock if Bony does not start at least one of the two games — but Laudrup says he cannot be certain about when 24-year-old will be at the top of his game.
"I don't know, football is not science," he added.
"On top of what I am saying, he is also coming from the Dutch League to the Premier League.
"It's a huge step and he needs to adapt, and that is why we're trying to help him, we are all trying to do that.
"It's not that we are saying he's not playing for a month, then he will be back at 200mph.
"Of course he will play games, but we are trying to give him the extra (training) he did not have in the summer."