Laudrup: Reading Game Is So Important
Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup talks about his side's most important game of the season so far, as they look to end a 3-match losing run at home against Premier League new-boys Reading.
The Swans have already handed out first wins to their previous two opponents - Aston Villa and Stoke City, and Reading are also looking for their victory when they visit the Liberty Stadium this Saturday.
Laudrup sees Reading as a direct rival to his Swansea side, no doubt because he expects both to be struggling towards the bottom end of the table. Is this lack of ambition and optimism from the manager, or is he being brutally honest and realistic?
Laudrup told the Evening Post that every game is important, but some are more important than others, including Saturday's against the Royals:
'The next game is always important, but this time that really is the case,'
'In my experience as a player and as a manager, there are moments in a season where you can't just say that this game is important, because you say that always.
'I think there are three or four games during a season which are important than normal important games, and I think the first one for us is on Saturday.'
'The reasons why this game is so important are obvious,'
'We have lost three league games in a row and we have the international break to come after this one.
'We are also playing against a direct rival for us, so I can't really say too many times how important the game is for us.
'It's one of the three or four you have in every season where you say 'Guys, it's this one we need to win because it will give us so much'.'
Laudrup also talks about his team's start to the season, an unbeaten opening 3 games before 3 defeats on the bounce.
'You can see it from two points of view,'
'If you say we have seven points and you look at what some of the other teams have got then that's very good.
'I know Sunderland have a game in hand, but we can say for sure that we have at least eight teams below us.
'And if maybe the seven points had come in another way — with maybe one win, four draws and one defeat — it could be better.
'But because it's been like it has, it's a little disappointing for all of us to have lost three games in a row.
'We want to come back from that. I know we won in the cup last week, but we want to win in the league again.'
Laudrup will be looking for his side to do something that they've failed to do in the last three, apart from winning obviously, it's to 'take the game' to the opposition, he added:
'We played Everton, who are a very good team and really knew how to close us down,'
'At Stoke we were not too bad, but we were not too good either.
'We were punished by the things we expected from Stoke. You know when you play Stoke they will get the ball into the box.
'We tried to defend outside the box, but when they get set-pieces you cannot do that.
'The next game is a different opponent, but Reading are another strong team.
'What we have to do, as I always say when we play at home, is take the initiative.
''We have to take the game to them.'
Laudrup hopes to see his side increase the gap from the bottom three teams this weekend:
'I know Reading have a game in hand, but if we beat them on Saturday we will be eight points clear of them,'
'And if we win this game we could maybe go six or seven points clear of the relegation places.
'That gives you confidence. It does not mean you can relax, but it makes you feel a little more comfortable during the break and then we can focus again for another big game (against Wigan Athletic).'