Boss: We must cope with 'favourites' tag

2nd October 2013

Michael Laudrup says his team need to show that they can cope with the pressure of being favourites, ahead of tomorrow night's match against St. Gallen.

Both sides go into the fixture full of confidence after both teams recorded victories in each of their first respective games of Group A.

While the Swans completed a sensational 3-0 triumph over group favourites Valencia in Spain, St. Gallen picked up three points of their own by beating Kuban Krasnodar 2-0 in Switzerland.

But despite Swansea's fantastic win in Valencia, Laudrup was keen to stress that it was just one game, and that his side will now have to cope with the pressure of expectancy.

"We have had a fantastic start - it couldn't have been better - beating the top favourites of the group 3-0 in their ground," said the Swans boss.

"Now we have two home games against the other two teams, starting tomorrow with St. Gallen, who won their first game at home. It's already quite an important game in this group.

"We had nothing to lose against Valencia. Nobody expected us to get anything.

"Tomorrow is different. Everybody will say that, right now, in this group, Swansea are the team to beat - and they are playing at home. We have to accept that, at this moment, we are the favourites for this game.

"Tomorrow we have a small amount of pressure, because now we have to show that we can do it at home against a good side, who have had some good results.

"If we lose tomorrow, people will say we were a little lucky against Valencia."

The visit of St. Gallen to the Liberty Stadium will be the first time the Swans have played against a team from Switzerland, and the first time St Gallen have faced Premier League opponents since they famously eliminated Chelsea in the first round of the 2000-01 UEFA Cup.

Despite the fact that the two sides have never met in European competition, Laudrup is well aware of the threat that the opposition will pose.

He said: "I have seen both their games against Krasnodar and Spartak Moscow. They don't have the big stars but they work really hard.

"They were underdogs against Spartak Moscow in the play-offs - Spartak are a team who have played in the Champions League.

"They had a draw at home in Switzerland, then they were 1-0 down in Russia after 51 seconds and were outplayed for twenty minutes. Then, suddenly, after 35 minutes, they were 3-1 up, so it shows they have a lot of character.

"They play a little different than us - a bit more direct.

"We are the home team, so we will have to try and control the game, but always with an eye on their counter-attacks and their team spirit."

Meanwhile, Laudrup confirmed that both Ashley Williams and Garry Monk are injured and would be absent from tomorrow night's squad, while Pablo Hernandez remains an injury doubt.

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