Laudrup: We can cope without Olympic trio
MICHAEL Laudrup has conceded the involvement of three Swansea City players at the Olympics will disrupt his plans — but the Swans' new manager is backing his side to cope.
Joe Allen, Neil Taylor and Scott Sinclair have all been selected for the Team GB football squad at this summer's London Games, making Swansea the best represented club in the 18-man party.
Laudrup reckons the Swans can be proud of having three of their players at the Olympics, but he has also admitted their participation will be a blow to his pre-season preparations.
The British squad have been at a training camp in Spain this week, and they play their first group game of the tournament against Senegal at Old Trafford on July 26.
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Stuart Pearce's side will then face UAE at Wembley on July 29 before concluding their group stage fixtures with a match against Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium on August 1.
The Olympic final takes place at Wembley on August 11 and, if Team GB reach the gold medal contest, two of their Swansea contingent could have as little as 48 hours with new manager Laudrup before the Swans' first Premier League match of the season.
They visit Mark Hughes's QPR on August 18 but, with Allen and Taylor likely to be included in the Wales squad to face Bosnia and Herzegovina on August 15, their preparations for the trip to Loftus Road might have to be crammed into just two days.
Regardless of how far Team GB progress, the three players will miss Swansea's pre-season tour of America later this month.
To be without three important players for his first summer in charge of the Swans is less than ideal for Laudrup, but the Dane insists his new side will be able to recover from the trio's absence.
"They are not here for the pre-season and if it's the worst case for us — and the best case for them (Team GB) — if they get to the final and with the Wales game, they could only get here on the 16th which is only 48 hours before our game in the league," said Laudrup.
"That's not good for us but it's good for the club to have players going to the Olympics and we have to see it from that point of view.
"The league doesn't finish after the first or second game so they will catch up."
Laudrup took charge of his first training session at Swansea's relaid pitches in Llandarcy earlier this week, where new signings Chico Flores and Jonathan de Guzman were welcomed to the side.
It was also an opportunity for the manager to introduce himself to the players already well bedded in the Swans' squad.
The former Barcelona and Real Madrid star joined in for the occasional training exercise, and it seemed his legendary skills were still intact.
Laudrup will have to wait, however, before he can meet Allen, Taylor and Sinclair.
The three players have allayed fears about their absence, insisting that Laudrup and his coaching staff will be able to assess their performances by watching Team GB's matches at the Olympics.
The Dane himself is also confident their late arrivals will not have too detrimental an affect on his side as they prepare for a second season in the Premier League.
Laudrup has his fingers crossed none of his Olympians will be injured with Team GB and that they will be in peak physical condition ready for the curtain-raiser against QPR next month.
But he is not overly concerned about not being able to meet the trio until the Olympics are over, content in the knowledge that these are three players who have already established themselves as firm fixtures in the Swansea side.
"We are talking about three regulars from last season," said Laudrup. "I don't know them personally but they know everyone here. They are not three new players who have to fit in and get to know team-mates, they will catch up quickly.
"We don't want injuries but they are a part of football. You just have to see what happens."