Laudrup looking for home win
21st August 2013
Michael Laudrup is hoping his side can take a huge step towards the group stages of the Europa League with a win over Petrolul Ploiesti on Thursday (7.05pm).
The Swans welcome the Romanians to the Liberty Stadium for the first leg of their play-off tie, with the home side looking to bounce back from last weekend's defeat to Manchester United.
Laudrup's men suffered a 4-1 defeat to the reigning Premier League champions but have a great chance to get back to winning ways as they turn their attention to Europe.
After sweeping past Malmo in the last round, the Swans now face last season's Romanian Cup winners as they look to claim an advantage ahead of next week's second leg in Ploiesti.
"It's only the first half of the tie," said Laudrup. "After conceding four goals last weekend, a win and a clean sheet would be perfect for us.
"I told the players that we have to move on from Manchester United, and remember that we don't have to measure ourselves against teams like that.
"We are now going into a new competition and every time you lose a game, it's important to try and win the next one.
"Overall, it will be two difficult games and we will be looking for a good result going into the second leg next week."
Despite Petrolul being a relative unknown quantity in terms of European competition, Swans boss Michael Laudrup will be reunited with one familiar face.
Ploiesti manager Cosmin Contra played under Laudrup at Getafe as the Spanish side reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup in 2008.
The former West Brom and Milan defender scored in both legs of their tie with Bayern Munich as Getafe went out on away goals.
"It's a little strange to play against a team managed by Cosmin," said Laudrup. "That means I must be getting a little old!
"We had some great memories at Getafe, especially our run in the UEFA Cup, but I know that Thursday's game will be a tough one.
"I've seen them play and they have some good players within their squad. They have players in the final third of the page that can hurt us if we are not careful."
After a 22-year absence from European competition, the Swans will be hoping for more of the same as they look for a place in the group stages of the Europa League.
Following a seemingly tough draw against Malmo in the last round, Laudrup's side produced an accomplished performance to rack up a 4-0 win in the first leg.
And the Dane insists there is great motivation within his squad to continue their European adventure into the autumn.
"For both teams it is the same," he said. "We want to take this experience as far as we can. But the motivation is that both our teams are not regulars in European competition.
"And I'm sure that no Swansea fans believe that it will be an easy passage into the group stages."
Meanwhile, Laudrup confirmed that midfielder Jonathan de Guzman is back in training following a bout of concussion, however Nathan Dyer is ruled out of Thursday's clash after picking up a knock against Manchester United.