Laudrup wants to keep his fluent Swans talking the right language
ONE minute it was English, the next Danish. A moment after that, he spoke to the reporter from Spain in his mother tongue.
Michael Laudrup may not be the noisiest football manager around, but he does not lack the tools to communicate.
Laudrup switches between languages like a radio going through the stations — and not just in his press conferences.
Swansea City's new boss also uses his linguistic skills in training and on the touchline, for his squad grows ever more cosmopolitan.
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Happily for Laudrup, Ki Sung-Yueng speaks English.
As far as we know, after all, the Dane cannot turn his hand to Korean.
The chances are, however, that he will have to field more than a few questions from South Korean inquisitors in the weeks and months ahead.
As with the appointment of Laudrup, Ki's arrival has given Swansea a whole batch of new followers in a different corner of the globe.
Word continues to spread about the good work being done in SA1, with a new Swansea supporters' club cropping up in Spain this week.
Even after their difficult summer, Swansea's reputation continues to grow.
There were plenty who suggested the bubble had burst after Brendan Rodgers's departure, that after two spectacular years Swansea could not possibly continue to progress.
It is still very early in this new campaign, of course, but Swansea's start to life under Laudrup has been rousing in such circumstances.
Two thumping victories from their first two Premier League games — with one of them coming on a ground where they have always struggled — was more than most Swansea fans would have hoped for.
The fact that the second success, against West Ham United last weekend, put them top of the table for a couple of hours only broadened the smiles on Swansea faces.
Laudrup, quite rightly, was not about to uncork the champagne.
The 48-year-old has won enough titles over the last three decades to know that two good results in the first eight days of a season do not count for much in the grand scheme of things.
Still, the victories have had an uplifting impact at the Liberty.
Swansea have not played one of the top division's heavyweight clubs yet — they will not until Manchester City at the end of October — but they have beaten two sides who, as Laudrup would say, are in their league.
These are the fixtures that really count for a club of Swansea's stature, and six points from six plus eight goals scored and none conceded is an outstanding return.
Laudrup was left to stomach the shock of conceding a goal in midweek, when Bobby Hassell's loopy header got the better of Gerhard Tremmel in the Capital One Cup.
But once again it was Swansea who emerged victorious, with three more goals scored as they progressed to the third round. Momentum maintained.
And so to Sunderland, and the chance to make it four wins from four fixtures before the first international break of 2012-13.
Long odds would have been offered on Swansea doing that on the eve of this campaign, but they kick off this weekend as favourites with the bookmakers to overcome the Black Cats.
That is the despite the fact that Sunderland have just shelled out well over £20 million on two forward players in the shape of striker Steven Fletcher and England winger Adam Johnson.
Two proven Premier League performers have joined a squad who are well established in the top tier and have a respected and vastly experienced manager in Martin O'Neill.
If Swansea were almost unanimously tipped — once again — to struggle this season, Sunderland were a club expected to improve on last year's 13th-placed finish with O'Neill at the helm from the start of the campaign.
They started the new term impressively, drawing 0-0 at Arsenal on the opening day, and were left with feet plus umbrellas up last weekend as a downpour in the North East saw their home game with Reading postponed.
That meant O'Neill gave something close to his first team a run-out in the League Cup in midweek, and Morecambe were duly dispatched at the Stadium of Light.
Johnson claimed two assists on debut, with James McClean, Sunderland's other gifted wideman, benefiting on each occasion.
With the menacing Stephane Sessegnon also likely to feature, Swansea will have to work hard to chalk up clean sheet No. 3 of the season.
But given the way Michu, Danny Graham and the "poison" flyers, Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge, have started the campaign, Sunderland will be concerned about Swansea's strike power too.
"I'm not really surprised by how well they've done so far," says Fletcher, scorer of a fine goal for Wolves at the Liberty as recently as April.
"You saw them last year and they played some good football.
"They've just kind of kicked on from there.
"They've got a new manager, but it's more or less the same team.
"Obviously, they've proved they can score goals over the first two games, but then so can we."
Fletcher may only be involved as a substitute tomorrow because he has had minimal game-time of late after a pre-season ankle injury.
If he does not play then another of Sunderland's summer recruits, Louis Saha, is likely to lead the line for O'Neill.
The former French international is another player who is well capable of doing damage in the Premier League.
How will Swansea cope with Sunderland's numerous threats?
The plan will be the same as ever.
"We saw against Barnsley that when we don't have the ball, we suffer," Laudrup says.
"We need to keep the ball. There is only one ball on the pitch and if we have it, they can't hurt us."
If Swansea have the ball often enough tomorrow, Michu and Co should thrive again.