Laudrup praises Swans display

1st January 2014

Michael Laudrup praised his side's "excellent" performance after they were narrowly edged out by Manchester City 2-3 on New Year's Day.

Despite Wilfried Bony scoring a fantastic brace for the Swans, the Swans were beaten by the now league leaders courtesy of strikes from Fernandinho, Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov.

Fernandinho scored the first Barclays Premier League goal of 2014 inside 15 minutes when he drilled home a shot from the edge of the area after Swansea failed to clear Samir Nasri's corner.

However, the Swans responded well to the setback and eventually equalised on the stroke of half-time when Bony headed home de Guzman's accurate ball into the box.

But in the 58th minute, Yaya Toure restored Man City's advantage by smashing low into the corner before Kolarov grabbed the visitors' third after cutting inside from the left and powering a shot past Gerhard Tremmel.

Bony added his and Swansea's second of the game in the first minute of injury time when he beat Joe Hart with a thunderous drive from 20 yards, giving Laudrup's side hope of a dramatic finale to an entertaining tie.

However, it was too late for the Swans, who had battled valiantly throughout the 90 minutes, and Laudrup was keen to praise his side for their efforts.

"In the first-half, in terms of playing and in terms of attitude, we were excellent," said the Great Dane. "Being on top and getting the equaliser before half-time gave us confidence."

"But you always know when you play against teams of this level, even if you feel on top, you always have to be careful because in a split second they can turn the game. That's what happened with the goal by Toure.

"The third goal really hurt because it was a goal where we could have done much more in different parts of the pitch. Then, of course, being 3-1 down to a team like this in our fourth game in ten days, it is up hill.

"We got a late goal, and had we got it five minutes earlier, you never know what could happen.

"In terms of play and attitude, we deserved something, but if you concede three goals against a great team like this, it is very difficult to get something."

The Swans boss was also keen to praise the individual performances of Bony and Wayne Routledge, who, among others, put in excellent displays.

"I think it was by far the best performance by Bony since he's been a Swansea player," added Laudrup.

"That's the way we want to see him - his movement, challenging the opponent. If he can do it against Kompany and Nastasic, he can do it against anyone.

"From the first minute to the end, he was moving, using his body well, playing one-twos. That's what we want to see.

"You can't ask a player for goals or to play well, but you can ask a player to do the things they can give you.

"Maybe he needed time to adapt to this football because, with all due respect to the Dutch league, there is a world of difference between this league and the Dutch league.

"I just hope this will be the performance we see from him. I'm not talking about scoring the goals; I am talking about all of the other things.

"Also, I hope Wayne Routledge can take a lot of confidence from his performance today.

"It's been difficult at times, so far for Wayne, but I think we saw him back near his best today.

"I think it's important that players have the confidence in their own skills because that's what we need.

"I see a team with a lot of confidence, so I am sure the points will come."

Meanwhile, Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini was delighted with his side's important win against a "very difficult team".

"We played against a very difficult team," said Pellegrini. "To beat them here at their stadium is very important for us.

"I think the most important thing was that we scored the second and the third goal. We knew it was going to be very difficult for us, but the team has the character to deal with this. The whole team made a very good game.

"Maybe at the beginning of the season, we dropped too many points away, so today is very important for us."