Everton 0 Swansea City 0: Spanish eyes on a job well done
THE Spanish national coach watching from the directors' box and the manager linked with Real Madrid.
Not quite another day at the office, admittedly, but a sign of these captivating times at Swansea City.
Michael Laudrup was quick to point out that Michu had done plenty to impress Vicente Del Bosque before this fairly low-key contest, and to laugh off talk of an imminent return to the Bernabeu.
He did not really want to discuss goings-on in Spain.
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Instead the Swansea boss was keen to focus on a job very well done by his team, and on a couple more landmarks they reached as a result.
There is still no win over Everton in the Swansea history books, but at least they have taken something off the Toffees for the first time since they reached the Premier League.
That never looked likely in Swansea's three previous meetings with Everton over the last couple of seasons, but they seemed determined to squeeze something out of this contest from the outset.
And the point their laudable defensive effort earned means Swansea now have 30 for the season which, given that it is the middle of January, is a fabulous achievement.
"That's very good thank you," Laudrup said through a smile. "It's very nice to see the number two change to a number three when you look at our points.
"And I will be even happier when the three becomes a four."
For the moment at least, Laudrup continues to talk about the need to reach the 40-point safety barrier, to secure Swansea's top-flight status for another campaign.
His determination not to get carried away is understandable, but the truth is that Swansea do not look anything like relegation contenders with 16 games of the league season to come.
They have reached the 30-mark quicker than Laudrup anticipated back in August, two matches and three weeks before Brendan Rodgers's men got there in the last campaign.
They are 11 points clear of the drop zone and only seven behind Everton, who currently occupy the Premier League's last European qualification place.
Swansea, of course, might book their ticket to football in the Continent via the Capital One Cup, or perhaps even in the FA Cup.
It is no wonder perhaps, given his team's success on all fronts, that Laudrup is being mentioned as a potential successor to Jose Mourinho.
The story did not exactly come directly from the top of Real.
In fact it was a survey of fans conducted by one of the Spanish papers which billed Laudrup as the third most popular choice, in the supporters' eyes, to take over at the club where he won La Liga as a player.
Swansea will have to wait to see whether anything will come of the Real link further down the line, but the very fact that their man is being touted says everything about the strides being taken at the Liberty.
"Always when somebody talks about you there can be satisfaction, but you have to remember I played there," Laudrup said through another grin.
"I still have a lot of friends there."
Friends Swansea hope he will not be seeing any time soon, for they have already lost enough good managers in recent years.
Another man Swansea do not want to lose is Michu, scorer of 16 goals already in his extraordinary debut season in the Premier League.
There was almost one more to add to the collection at Goodison Park, Michu going closest for Swansea when his attempted lob was pushed on to the woodwork by Tim Howard.
There were precious few other chances to impress Del Bosque, for Swansea spent most of the afternoon on the back foot.
"If he (Del Bosque) had called me, I could have told him Everton away wasn't the best game to see Michu," Laudrup said.
"But I think he knows already what he can expect from Michu, because in Spain they watch the Premier League just like we watch La Liga over here.
"We are talking about the best national team in the world right now.
If Michu could get into it that would be fantastic."
Michu showed some frustration when he was substituted late on, throwing his gloves to the floor as he reached the bench.
"He wants to win every game and he wants to score in every game," Laudrup said.
"He is not happy when those things don't happen but, when he cools down, I think he will realise it's not a bad result."
It was better than not bad. Swansea never really looked like winning, but then Everton are hardly ever beaten on their own patch these days.
David Moyes's team had dismantled Swansea at the Liberty back in September, their blend of panache and considerable power proving far too much for Laudrup's men to handle in the early stages of the season.
But Swansea have progressed since then, settling under their new manager and developing into a side who feel they can compete on any ground in the country.
"We have lost twice since the end of October," Laudrup said. "That's something Manchester City or Manchester United would be proud of, but we are Swansea City."
A club who have built a reputation for their style and swagger in possession in recent times, but one whose defensive resolve has not always been so convincing.
Yet after clean sheets at Chelsea and Everton inside three days, against two equally menacing teams with very different threats, it is hard to find fault with the Swansea rearguard right now.
"We knew we would need a big performance from our central defenders," Laudrup added, "and I thought they were outstanding.
"Maybe if Del Bosque needs someone to play at the back, he will have seen something here."
Laudrup argues Swansea are a "different team" now from the side who were humbled so emphatically by Everton earlier in the season.
They crumbled that day, yet this weekend, despite all the games they have had to play of late, Swansea stayed strong until the final whistle saw their unbeaten run stretch to seven games.
Michel Vorm was by far the busier of the keepers, the Dutchman racing off his line to deal with Ben Davies's loose back pass with only a couple of minutes gone before he parried Victor Anichebe's header.
Ashley Williams hacked the ball out from under the bar.
Nikica Jelavic volleyed wide, Marouane Fellaini shot straight at Vorm and Leon Osman headed one of Leighton Baines's devilish free-kicks past the post.
Everton set-pieces were always a threat, Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka both nodding over from corners.
Even Phil Neville, who has rarely troubled the scorers since quitting cricket as a teenager, forced Vorm to push the ball round the post.
At the other end Swansea's threat was minimal aside from the Michu near miss.
Pablo Hernandez had a couple of sighters, but got his pass wrong when Nathan Dyer would have been one on one.
Dyer started as Swansea's central striker, Laudrup explaining the theory that the winger's pace would help his team relieve pressure if he was deployed through the middle.
In truth that move did not work particularly well, but the decisions to beef up midfield, and to combat Everton's left flank with two right-backs, came off spectacularly.
And so to Arsenal in Wednesday's FA Cup replay, when changes are likely but, Laudrup argues, Swansea's belief will not alter.
"As I said to the players, we have a lot of games to play because of the success we have had," the Dane said.
"That's why we have to use the squad. We are doing that and I think a lot of the players really feel part of the team because of that.
"That combined with the results means we have a team with a lot of confidence who believe they can get a result anywhere right now."
Arsenal is not the priority, but victory is far from inconceivable the way Swansea are going just now.
Whatever happens at the Emirates, Swansea's season is shaping up very well indeed.