Today's media round up
22nd February 2013
Journalists from around the world came to SA1 yesterday for their chance to speak to the squad ahead of Sunday's Capital One Cup final against Bradford City. With only two days to go until kick-off it was the final time the players and staff will speak to the press before the game. The Independent have looked into the influence that John Cruyff has had on Michael Laudrup. Ben Davies spoke with Henry Winter about his Premier League life and how it will be capped off with a trip to Wembley. BBC Sport are interested in Michael Laudrup's pre match presentation. And finally, the South Wales Evening Post spoke to Ashley Williams as he said "Winning Capital One Cup would be finest moment of his career."
By: Andrew Gwilym
How influence of Johan Cruyff has helped Michael Laudrup to success
Michael Laudrup has revealed how the genius of Johan Cruyff has helped him put Swansea on the brink of winning their first major piece of silverware.
The Dane will lead the Swans out for Sunday's Capital One Cup final against Bradford at Wembley having enjoyed a fantastic first season as manager at the Liberty Stadium, building on the foundations laid by Roberto Martinez, Paulo Sousa and Brendan Rodgers before him.
"On the pitch everyone knows my five years with Cruyff in Barcelona were great years, there are a lot of things from the training I did with him that I am using now," he said.
"There are also elements from Giovanni Trapattoni while I was in Italy and (former Denmark boss) Sepp Piontek.
"Those are the three I mention when people ask who had the most influence on my career - so we have a German, an Italian and a Dutchman who was from the school of 'Total Football' and was one of the top five players ever.
"They were three very different personalities, and three very different ways of seeing the game, but they had a big impact on me."
By: Henry Winter
League Cup final 2013: Swansea City's Ben Davies stays grounded with career about to take flight to Wembley
Ben Davies was a talented schoolboy rugby union outside-half and wicketkeeper, is so bright he got an A* at maths A-level, and is proving one of the young players of the season with his mature performances at left-back for Swansea City and Wales.
Davies is only 19, off to Wembley this weekend for the Capital One Cup final, seeing his name up in headlines and yet staying totally down to earth.
At the start of the season, the Neath-born Davies was on around £400 a week, driving a modest VW Polo that delighted Swansea's players who reckoned he was the only footballer with wind-down windows in the Premier League. Davies now has a new contract and a new car (a sensible Audi A4) but is too level-headed, too well-guided by parents and club staff, to get carried away.
"I do think quite a lot of players have had too much too young and haven't actually proved themselves yet," said Davies, sitting in a banqueting suite at the Liberty Stadium. "If you give lesser contracts to people who have to fight for their place and fight for their earnings, they'll be much more grateful when that chance comes. They'll reap the rewards.
"When I made my debut [in August], I was still on a development contract, around that mark [£400], and my appearance fee was a bit more. If I hadn't played any games I didn't deserve to be paid any more. That's the right way. You get a better wage from earning it, and proving yourself playing games."
Davies has always been driven, the club noting the way he fought back from a knee injury aged 16. "It could have been career-threatening," said Tony Pennock, Swansea's Academy director. "With the way he came through, and did his rehab, other people began to see that Ben's determination, work ethic and willingness to listen and learn was outstanding. Brendan [Rodgers] could see his potential. Michael [Laudrup] has kept faith."
Laudrup turned to Davies when Neil Taylor was injured. "As soon as it happened I texted Neil, saying 'hope you get back soon', but he just said 'now's your chance'," said Davies. "I knew there was a lot of pressure on me. I wanted to prove I could hold my own in this league."
His hardest opponent has been Hatem Ben Arfa of Newcastle United. "I don't think I did badly against him that day, but he was one of the cleverer wingers I played against, very good on the ball, very strong. Theo Walcott's good. It's a tough challenge to play against someone so quick. I thought I did quite well against him. He's a nice lad, someone you can speak to after the game."
Swansea: Michael Laudrup uses Bradford DVDs to spur players
Michael Laudrup plans to stop Swansea City players becoming complacent ahead of Sunday's Capital One Cup final by showing footage of opponents Bradford's giant-killing exploits.
The Swans are overwhelming favourites to beat a team 72 places below them in the English league pyramid.
But manager Laudrup says his side will not take anything for granted.
"I can show the DVDs from the Wigan game, the Arsenal game and the two games against Aston Villa," he said.
Bradford have accounted for all three Premier League clubs on their way to Wembley.
That fact alone, says Laudrup, will keep his team on its toes.
"We have to accept that we are favourites, but I think all my players they know that this is a unique situation for us, but even more for Bradford," said the Dane.
"We're talking history here, and even more so if they [Bradford] could win this game.
"So I'm sure that my players will not underestimate Bradford."
South Wales Evening Post:
Winning Capital One Cup would be finest moment of Ashley Williams's career
Ashley Williams insists Sunday's Capital One Cup final will be the finest day of his career - as long as Swansea City win.
The centre-back is in little doubt that the Championship play-off final against Reading was a more significant game for the club and their players.
But Williams is adamant that clinching Swansea's first piece of major silverware would be a greater honour.
"I think the play-off final kind of felt bigger to the boys because it meant that we would potentially get to the Premier League," said Williams.
"Getting to the Premier League was what it was all about - we were trying to change our lives.
"I'm not saying Sunday is not a big day for us, because it's obviously massive.
"I think this week is bigger in terms of the club and everyone outside the club so it's a little bit strange.
"Speak to me if we win and it'll be the biggest day of my career.
"But I try not to get carried away. The main thing we have to do is on the pitch on Sunday. We'll try to treat the game as normally as possible."