Laudrup lauds dominant display

19th January 2013

Michael Laudrup hailed his side's dominant display as Swansea produced a scintillating display to secure all three points against Stoke at the Liberty.

The visitors proved stubborn opposition in the first half, frustrating the home side as they defended deep in numbers while looking to break on the counter attack.

Michu wasted a good chance to put the Swans ahead, but he headed wide from six yards out. But from the restart, the hosts took control.

Full back Ben Davies turned Ryan Shawcross before firing into the bottom corner to put Swansea ahead, before Jonathan de Guzman doubled their advantage with a sweet free kick from 20 yards.

The win was wrapped up when de Guzman latched onto Danny Graham's sublime pass to slot past Asmir Begovic, leaving Stoke substitute Michael Owen to head in a consolation in injury time.

"It was a very good performance, and we dominated from the first minute," said Laudrup. "They defended deep and in numbers, but the only thing we didn't do was score in the first half.

"I was pleased, but I thought we needed something special to score the first goal and I thought that if we did we would win the game.

"Winning is always great, as are no injuries, so it was as close to the perfect day as we could have wanted."

The win moved Swansea up to eighth in the Premier League table, four points ahead of today's opponents.

It means that it is now just one defeat in nine games for Laudrup's men, as the squad now turns its attention to Wednesday's crucial Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea at the Liberty.

But the win was even sweeter for youngster Ben Davies, with the full back capping a fine performance with his first senior goal.

"He deserved it and it's a special day for him," he said. "He has been great this season and for everything he has done up until now, he deserves it.

"The second goal was a wonderful free kick and the third one was best of the afternoon. I've seen Jonathan score a lot of these goals in training, so to see it in a game was very pleasing as well.

"But the third goal had everything that we try to do in training. Pass, move, one and two touches and a good finish. It was a fantastic goal."

Laudrup made a host of changes for this afternoon's clash, with Chico Flores sitting out the game with a knee injury picked up in Wednesday's defeat against Arsenal.

That meant Garry Monk captained the side alongside Ashley Williams, with Leon Britton and new signing Roland Lamah taking their place amongst the substitutes.

But after last weekend's resilient display against Everton, the Swans once again showed their defensive metal by combating the physical threat of Stoke's frontline.

"I had my concern about set pieces," said Laudrup. "But we defended really well, even the long balls up to Crouch and Walters. The back four did great, in particular the two centre halves.

"In the last three games we have seen that we can match teams physically and that is good to see."

Meanwhile, the result left Stoke in 10th place in the Premier League and boss Tony Pulis was honest in his assessment, insisting that the home side were full value for their win.

"From the first whistle to the last we were second best," he said. "We looked a yard short all over the pitch and Swansea deserved the win.

"That wasn't us today, but I don't want to make excuses. I don't want to take anything away from Swansea though because they deserve all the plaudits today."