More of the same for Laudrup

7th August 2013

Michael Laudrup is hoping for more of the same from his players as they look to book their place in the next round of the Europa League.

The Swans face Malmo in the second leg of their third qualifying round tie - holding a 4-0 advantage from the first leg at the Liberty Stadium.

Laudrup's men produced a superb display at both ends of the field last Thursday to kick-start their European campaign in style ahead of the new Barclays Premier League season.

And the Great Dane is hoping that his players can replicate that performance at the Swedbank Stadion on Thursday to reach the play-off round (6.45pm UK time).

"Last week was fantastic for us," said Laudrup. "To win 4-0 and keep a clean sheet was great - but our main target is to get to the next round.

"Another clean sheet would be great as we have only given away one goal in pre-season, and winning and not conceding goals is fantastic.

"But most importantly, I want to see another good performance from us before we start the Premier League season."

The Swans kick off their third season in the top-flight by hosting Manchester United at the Liberty on August 17.

But they will face the reigning champions on the back of a successful pre-season campaign in which Laudrup's side racked up seven wins out of seven.

And Laudrup believes his squad is in better shape now than this time last year.

"I'm looking at Thursday's game in different ways," said Laudrup. "Even though we had a lot of the ball last week, they (Malmo) were well organised in the first half, and we know that there will be a part of the game on Thursday where we won't be so dominant.

"We haven't given away a lot in pre-season, even against the better sides that we have played.

"Every manager is in the same position at this stage, wondering if their team is in the right way ahead of the new season. But after 10 days in Holland I could already see that we were in better shape (than last year)."

Laudrup himself is no stranger to European football, having featured for a number of stellar clubs in a glittering playing career.

The Dane won the European Cup at Wembley in 1992 with Barcelona, and guided Spanish side Getafe to the quarter-finals of the Europa League in 2008.

And he urged his players to embrace this season's competition, with the Swans making their first appearance in Europe for 22 years.

"European competition is a great experience," he said. "There are two-legged games before you reach the group stages - and that format is a little different to what we are used to.

"We have to go into the games with the right mentality, but ultimately the players have to enjoy it."

Meanwhile, Laudrup confirmed that winger Pablo Hernandez is ruled out with a muscle injury, while Jonjo Shelvey didn't travel with the squad due to a bout of flu.