Laudrup hoping for Swans advantage

31st July 2013

Michael Laudrup insists his side will be looking to secure an advantage as they prepare for Thursday's Europa League clash against Malmo.

The Swans welcome the Swedish side to the Liberty Stadium in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie.

Laudrup's men have enjoyed a successful pre-season campaign, winning seven games in total and scoring 28 goals in the process.

And the Great Dane insists his side will be looking for a first-leg lead as they feature in a European competition for the first time in 22 years.

"It's an early start for us, but we're well prepared," said Laudrup. "We are up against a good side that are in the middle of their domestic season, so they will be match fit.

"They have also played a lot of games with the same group of players, so they are comfortable with one another.

"But I have great confidence in my squad. It's a two-legged game, and it isn't all about tomorrow.

"Of course we'll try and win the game but it is important not to concede any away goals as well because they can prove crucial.

"We can also use this as preparation for the Premier League - and that competition remains our main focus because that is where we want to consolidate as a club."

The Swans last featured in Europe back in 1991 when they lost to French giants Monaco in the Cup Winners' Cup.

But following the Capital One Cup success, the club now returns to the big stage as they also prepare for a third season in the Barclays Premier League.

And Laudrup believes the competition's early start will be a help rather than a hindrance as the countdown begins ahead of the visit of Manchester United to the Liberty on August 17.

"It's great to have these two games before we play Manchester United," he said. "For me, it's no problem.

"But playing in Europe is always special because you come up against players and teams your not used to.

"It is an important competition for us because we want to reach the group stages, and even during the first game we have to look ahead to the second leg as well."

It has been another busy summer in SA1 as the Swans strengthened their squad with no less than five new arrivals, including club-record signing Wilfried Bony.

And with the club competing on four fronts this term, Laudrup believes it was crucial that new faces were brought in.

"It was important for us to strengthen," he said. "I didn't want a big squad, and we now have a competitive group and one that has enough players in it.

"There may be another coming in during August and then that will be it."