Laudrup preparing for tough test
11th January 2013
Michael Laudrup insists his players are in for one of the toughest tests of the season this weekend when they face Everton at Goodison Park (3pm).
The Swans travel to Merseyside for their third game in a week, following an FA Cup tie against Arsenal and Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea.
Everton, meanwhile, have proved imperious at home this season, losing just once at Goodison Park and currently lie just two points off the top four in the Premier League.
David Moyes' side have a good record over Swansea in the top flight, winning all three games so far, including a 3-0 win at the Liberty Stadium in September.
And Laudrup knows his team face another stern test as they continue to battle on three fronts.
"The league is the most important competition," he said. "Everton are a very good team, who are also very strong. They proved that when they played here in September and they always put you under great pressure.
"Against Chelsea recently they scored in the first minute and we know that it is going to be a very hard game. They didn't play on Wednesday night, but that isn't an excuse."
With the trip to Goodison Park starting yet another run of three games in a week, Laudrup is expected to make changes for Saturday's clash.
Michel Vorm and Kemy Agustien will be pushing for recalls, while Dwight Tiendalli turned in yet another assured display after coming off the bench at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
But with an FA Cup replay against Arsenal to come, as well as games against Stoke and Chelsea, the Swans boss admits that the squad will be rotated.
"It's not a question of resting players, it's more about using the squad we have," said Laudrup. "The main thing is to pick a competitive team and I know that whoever plays on Saturday, will do a good job.
"We have made lots of changes in the last month, but everyone who has come in has done very well. We have already proved that we can be competitive in every game we play and that's very important for us going forward.
He added: "The only way we can deal with the schedule is by taking one game at a time. Tomorrow is a league game and we are already in a good position.
"But we still need 11 more points to reach the 40-point mark and that is our aim."
Laudrup was also quizzed about the future of Danny Graham after the striker continued his good form with his fourth goal in as many games against Chelsea on Wednesday.
"Someone who scores goals is always important," he said. "His goal on Wednesday was very important for us because a two-goal lead is better than one.
"But his goals are good for us and good for him as well because that means he has his confidence back."
With the Swans sitting 9th in the Premier League and still in both domestic cup competitions, it is proving to be a fantastic debut season for Michael Laudrup.
His side have become a force to be reckoned with in recent months, shrugging off the pundits' pre-season fears of a season of struggle.
And ahead of Saturday's game against Everton, the Dane praised his squad as they look to continue their momentum.
"Last season Swansea were new to the league and played great football," said Laudrup. "This season everyone is looking at how to beat us, and looking at the clubs that did well against Swansea last season.
"We then have to find an alternative to that. But even when we have played badly this season, we always come back.
"That shows we have great character in the squad."