Chelsea v Swansea City: Michael Laudrup wants an away goal
MICHAEL Laudrup will order up an away goal at Chelsea tonight as Swansea City look to take a giant stride towards a first ever major final.
Swansea go into the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge as outsiders to progress.
But Laudrup believes his players can make history by getting to Wembley — if they are not out of the tie before the second leg at the Liberty Stadium in a fortnight's time.
Away goals do not count until after extra time in the second leg, but Laudrup reckons finding the net this evening could be crucial to his team's chances.
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And the Dane admits he would accept a narrow defeat in West London — provided that his team get on the scoresheet.
"Away goals are very important in these two-legged games," said the Swansea manager, "and I think it would be very important for us to score a goal tonight.
"You always say that away goals count double, and I would take a narrow defeat tonight if we score. For me a 2-1 loss is much, much better than 1-0."
Swansea's experience of two-legged ties has been limited in recent times, although their last, the 2011 Championship play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest, went fairly well.
Laudrup was involved in a number of two-legged games during his time as a coach in Spain — not to mention during his playing career — and he believes Chelsea have plenty to think about as they play on their own patch first.
"I would always prefer to have the second leg at home," Laudrup added.
"When you are at home in the first leg, you want to win of course, but Rafael Benitez knows as well as I do that it's not good to have away goals against you.
"Sometimes, if you play the first game at home, you say 1-0 is a good result because then if you go and score in the away leg, the other team must score three.
"For the home team the first leg is about winning obviously, but it's also about not conceding goals.
"For the away team the thing is to try to score a goal. It's a different mentality from most games because we know at the end tonight it will only be half-time.
"We have to go there and accept that they will probably have more possession and that we will have to defend very well. But we also have to have in our mind that we need to score."
After resting some of his frontline stars in the FA Cup against Arsenal, Laudrup is likely to bring them all back this evening for what is Swansea's maiden League Cup semi-final.
Ashley Williams, Angel Rangel, Pablo Hernandez and Michu are all tipped to start, while in-form Danny Graham could miss out if Laudrup opts to bolster his midfield. The big selection call comes in goal, where Laudrup will play Gerhard Tremmel ahead of Michel Vorm because the German has featured throughout this competition.