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Do Swansea City have secret Europa League weapon in Michael Laudrup?

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 18, 2013

Rafa Benitez and Michael Laudrup will come face to face again in the Europa League.

Rafa Benitez and Michael Laudrup will come face to face again in the Europa League.

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SWANSEA City are widely considered underdogs to make it past Napoli and into the Europa League last 16 — but in Michael Laudrup they may have a secret weapon.

The Danish legend was regarded as something of a cup specialist during his time in Spain.

He took Getafe to the Copa del Ray final in 2008, while they also reached the Uefa Cup quarter-finals that season, only losing out to Bayern Munich on away goals.

And last term Laudrup again demonstrated his knockout pedigree, leading Swansea to a Capital One Cup final triumph, the first major trophy in the club's history.

Having found their way through Group A of the Europa League, Swansea now face a Napoli side unlucky to be eliminated from the Champions League, having finished level on points with group winners Borussia Dortmund and runners-up Arsenal. That tie sees Laudrup's trophy talents tested again.

"We did talk about that one. We said 'Imagine getting Napoli' because we've heard how hostile it is out there," said left-back Neil Taylor.

"They're a great team, probably one of the best teams in there, to be honest.

"But it's a great draw for the club.

"You always want the big teams, they're the most exciting, and if you want to get far you have to end up beating them at some point anyway.

"You'd rather get them now and beat them than get them a little bit further down the way and lose then.

"Either way it's tough, but that tie was definitely the one that looked the best."

Though Laudrup's cup credentials will come in for another stern examination, he has already proved himself against Napoli manager Rafa Benitez.

The Spaniard was in charge of Chelsea when Swansea eliminated the Blues from the Capital One Cup at the semi-final stage just under a year ago.

Back then Swansea were also unfancied. But strikes from Michu and Danny Graham handed them a shock 2-0 lead at Stamford Bridge before a rigid defensive display in the return leg secured their passage.

Laudrup also has a track record of success against top teams.

As well as Chelsea, Swansea beat Arsenal and Liverpool last term, while the Dane secured victories over Barcelona and Real Madrid when in charge at Getafe.

Such achievements have sparked fresh talk of a move away from the Liberty this week, with suggestions Laudrup is in the running to replace Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham.

But having coped with the departures of Roberto Martinez, Paulo Sousa and Brendan Rodgers in recent seasons, Taylor is confident the club will cope with whatever the future holds.

"There's no club better at adapting than Swansea, if you look at our record over the years," added the left-back.

"It wouldn't be great but you get on with it if it does ever happen. The manager seems happy in himself and he's got a job to do, for this season at least.

"There was speculation last summer and it went almost into the season.

"When anyone gets the sack now around Europe he's linked to it, whether that's a team in Denmark, Portugal or wherever.

"But at the moment there seem to be a lot of top managers available who aren't in jobs, so maybe they'll be the ones who get jobs first."

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3 comments

  • SarahRRodrigu  |  December 18 2013, 5:42PM

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  • valleyswan  |  December 18 2013, 12:41PM

    The word is "hwyl" Swanseaola, but I know what you mean.

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  • swanseaola  |  December 18 2013, 11:08AM

    We may be underdogs,but they (Napoli) will not have experienced the Hywel of the Liberty before!!!!! C'Mon the SSSSSSSWWWWAAAAANSssssss

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