Laudrup: No pressure on us

18th September 2013

Michael Laudrup insists there is no pressure on his side as they prepare to face Valencia in the Europa League on Thursday (6pm BST).

The Swans kick off their group stage campaign at the Mestalla, after overcoming Malmo and Petrolul Ploiesti in the qualifying rounds.

Despite easing to victory in both those games, Laudrup's men face a sterner test of their credentials in Spain as they take on Valencia.

The home side reached the final of the Champions League in both 2000 and 2001, and won the UEFA Cup in 2004 under the guidance of Rafa Benitez.

However, they are currently three games without a win in La Liga, and with financial problems off the pitch, Laudrup believes his players can rise to the occasion.

"It's a great experience," he said. "We are now in the group stages of the competition and face a huge club in the form of Valencia.

"They have a long history, and they are still a great team. They are the favourites to win the group, but we have a lot of possibilities.

"But there is no pressure on us so we're hoping for a good result. I'm looking forward to the game."

Thursday's clash in Spain comes just three days after Monday's entertaining draw with Liverpool at the Liberty Stadium.

The Swans then face a trip to Crystal Palace less than 48 hours after landing back on home soil, and Laudrup hinted at possible changes to his starting line-up.

"I'm thinking about different things and how we want to play," he said. "But we have another game in three days so I still have things to think about.

"However, if the team can reach the levels we know we are capable of, then we can progress from the group.

"It's not like years ago where there were typical styles - it's very different these days. We may well have more Spanish players than Valencia have in their starting line-up though!"

Meanwhile, Valencia boss Miroslav Djukic paid tribute to the Swans and their continental approach as the two teams prepare to go head-to-head at the Mestalla.

"Swansea are like a good Spanish team," he said. "They have good touch, they play triangles and they keep possession of the ball.

"They have good players, with very fast people on the wings, and they are well structured. We expect a very difficult game against a team who can play the ball."