Laudrup focussed on Stoke test
18th January 2013
Michael Laudrup insists his sole focus is on Saturday's clash with Stoke, rather than looking ahead to Wednesday's crucial Capital One Cup semi-final second leg.
The Swans welcome Tony Pulis' side to south Wales on the back of last Wednesday's FA Cup defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates.
That result ended the club's seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions, a sequence that stretched back to mid-December.
But with arguably the biggest game in Swansea's history to come on Wednesday night, Swans boss Michael Laudrup insists that Premier League points are all he is concerned about.
"Saturday's game is very important," he said. "It is a home game, which means we want to get three points and get closer to the 40-point mark. Then, when we arrive at that point, we can see how many games are left."
"We are at a very good level right now. There are 16 games to go and we still need to carry as we have been.
"But whoever plays on Wednesday, even if they are tired, they will not feel it."
Stoke lie just one place behind the Swans in the Premier League table, with Tony Pulis' side enjoying yet another successful season in the top flight.
This is the Potters' fifth successive campaign amongst the elite following their promotion in 2008, with the Staffordshire side's stock rising all the time.
Despite their style of play raising a few eyebrows amongst both fans and managers, Laudrup revealed that he has great respect for both Stoke and their manager, Tony Pulis.
"They are a huge team, and the tallest in Europe I believe," he said. "But that is a part of the way they play, and set pieces are very important for them.
"They know exactly what they want, and don't say one thing and do another. They are very honest about what they want, and what players they want also.
"When you do that, you can only have respect for people and for clubs like Stoke."
One hallmark of the Swans' good recent run has been their excellent defensive record.
Laudrup's men have conceded just one goal in their last three outings, including clean sheets against both Chelsea and Everton.
Last Saturday's goalless draw at Goodison Park was built on a solid defensive display, something which delighted the Swans boss.
"One thing I've noticed in the Premier League is that there are a lot of different styles," he said. "We played Everton a week ago and they have players like Stoke, but also ones that are good on the ground.
"They have the likes of Jelavic, Fellaini, Anichebe, Jagielka and Distin. But they also have players like Pienaar, Osman and Baines, who are all great on the ball.
"Stoke have players like that as well, for example Charlie Adam is very good. They are different styles, and you have to be prepared for new things in every game
"In some games this season we have struggled against the more physical teams. But that is why I was very pleased with what I saw against Everton last weekend.
"We went there and performed well. Not in a possession way, but playing against them on their conditions. That was a big step forward for us."
Meanwhile, speculation continues to mount that Danny Graham could be on his way out of the Liberty, with Norwich and Sunderland rumoured to have tabled bids for the striker.
The Swans have also been linked with a move for Stoke forward Kenwyne Jones, with the Trinidad and Tobago international set to lead the line for Pulis' side at the Liberty this weekend.
"It is true that there have been some official bids for Danny," said Laudrup. "I don't want to go into detail about what those clubs are, but apart from that I don't have any other comments right now."
He added: "It's not the proper time to talk about a player (Jones) when he is playing against us in 24 hours' time."