Let's just enjoy this moment, says Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup
THERE was a nod towards Swansea City's previous Wembley appearance and another in the direction of Hull City ten years ago.
But Michael Laudrup reckons the day he is describing as his finest in football will also live forever in the memory of the club he now calls home.
Laudrup ruled La Liga for half a decade in his playing days.
He has won league titles in Italy, Holland and his native Denmark, and there is also a European Cup winner's medal on the mantelpiece.
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But the 48-year-old has billed victory in the Capital One Cup with Swansea as the most satisfying achievement of his glorious career.
And though he has been around for only a fraction of the Swansea story, Laudrup has got to know his history.
"To win the first major trophy must make this one of the most important days ever at this club," said the Swansea manager.
"I don't say the most important, because I know this club have had some very special moments.
"There have been special games. There was one where they could have got relegated from what is now League Two if they had lost — you are playing for your football life in a game like that.
"Then two years ago they played a game at Wembley to decide whether they would play in the Championship or the Premier League.
"Maybe those two moments are more important, but I think the first major trophy has to rank pretty highly in the history of the club. I think it's pretty big."
Laudrup took extra satisfaction from the manner of his team's victory.
Not only did they avoid a potential humiliation at the hands of Phil Parkinson's serial giant-killers, they won by the biggest margin in the history of the League Cup final.
"To have the trophy is great," he said, "but I think the way we did it, 5-0, was very pleasing.
"I don't have the possession numbers, but we controlled the ball and I think they had their first shot on 85 minutes and had maybe two corners.
"That says a lot about our performance. We all know what Bradford have done this season — the run they have been on is absolutely outstanding.
"But I am happy with the way we played. After the third goal, we knew that the game was done.
"At 1-0 or 2-0, you know one mistake and one goal can change everything. But we played well. We moved the ball around when we had it and when they had it, we put them under pressure every time.
"I said to the players that Bradford would play the long ball to (James) Hanson every time and look for the second ball, but they didn't have a shot until the game was almost over.
"At 3-0 it was game over, and that meant I could enjoy it a little bit in the last 40 minutes. That was nice, because you don't often get that chance."
Such was Swansea's control of this most one-sided of finals that the biggest issue Laudrup's team faced was deciding who would take the second-half penalty awarded when Matt Duke tripped Jonathan de Guzman.
It was Swansea's first spot-kick of the campaign, and there was a lengthy debate between Nathan Dyer and de Guzman about who was going to take it.
Eventually de Guzman won the battle — and smashed the ball home from 12 yards.
Dyer was frustrated having missed out on the chance to match Scott Sinclair's Wembley hat-trick of two years ago, but that did not stop him celebrating with de Guzman afterwards.
"It's my fault," laughed Laudrup.
"We haven't had a penalty all season, and I didn't choose anyone to take one because I didn't think we would get one all season.
"I forgot to pick one — I am sorry. Nathan wasn't upset. I think he was happy because during the week he had an incredible miss in training and I told him to change his boots.
"I told him he needed to change them so the right boot was on the right foot and the left was on the left, and he got a goal with each one of them here."
Laudrup may not have picked a penalty-taker, but he made one big decision before kick-off.
With Chico Flores injured, he played midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng at centre-back ahead of defensive regulars Garry Monk and Kyle Bartley.
Ultimately the bold call did not matter that much, for Swansea's rearguard were hardly troubled by Bradford as Laudrup's men dominated possession.
"It's always difficult when you have to leave a player out, but I can't think about feelings when I am picking the team," Laudrup said.
"I have to analyse things and try to pick the best team to win the game.
"I thought we would probably have three-quarters of possession, so I wanted Ki in there so he could move the ball forward along with Ashley (Williams).
"We did it before at Crawley, and Ki did very well there. He did well again here, although I could play with someone different there in the next game.
"It was nice to get Garry on the pitch in the second half. That was my plan at half-time — to bring him on."
Laudrup batted away questions about his long-term future as Swansea celebrated, preferring instead to focus on their achievement.
"We have to enjoy this for at least a couple of days," he stressed.
But as reluctant as he was to talk about what is next for him and Swansea, Laudrup did glance forward to the prospect of European football coming to the Liberty.
"We have a first major trophy and we know we are going into the Europa League," he said.
"We have to see whether it is the last qualification round or the play-off game we go into, but at least we know we are going to play in one round.
"That is great for us, to have the first trophy and the chance to play in Europe. Let's just enjoy this moment."