Michael Laudrup: Swansea City fans can dream of Wembley, players can't yet
MICHAEL Laudrup has told Swansea City’s fans to dream of Wembley — but urged his players to refocus on the Premier League.
Swansea are just two rounds away from a first ever major final after their rousing midweek win at Liverpool, and have a home tie against Championship side Middlesbrough to look forward to in the last eight.
But with seven top-flight games to come before Boro’s visit, Laudrup has insisted that only Swansea’s supporters should begin contemplating the route to North London — and perhaps into Europe after that.
“I understand 100 per cent that the people are very happy after what was a great night for this club at Anfield,” said the Swansea manager, whose side host league leaders Chelsea tomorrow.
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“The fans can have their dreams — they can think about what it would be like to go to Wembley and to the final.
“But the players have to park that now until we play Middlesbrough in the middle of December.
“We can’t start thinking about a final or anything like that because we have seven league games before the next round.
“I am happy that we are at home against Middlesbrough. It should be a great night with a big crowd, and it’s a reward for all those fans who drove a long way to see us on a wet Wednesday night in Liverpool.
“But we need to get some points before that game. We will have played 16 league games by the time we face Middlesbrough, only three away from the halfway point in the season.
“That’s the moment where we can see where we are and how much work we will have to do in the second half of the season, so the games coming up are very important for us.”
Laudrup’s playing career was one long success story, but he is aware of the significance of the Liverpool win.
It was Swansea’s first success at the home of one of the heavyweight clubs since they reached the Premier League.
And it took the club into the quarter-finals of the League Cup for the first time in their history.
If Swansea can get past Boro, they will face a two-legged semi-final in a competition where a place in Europe is up for grabs.
“The winner goes into the Europa League so there’s a big bonus out there,” said Laudrup, who led unfancied Getafe into Continental competition earlier in his coaching career.
“This cup is the shortest way to success for a club like ours.
“I have worked at other smaller clubs and that’s why I have said all along that the cups are important for us.
“They give us that possibility of success, to have that smell of greatness as it comes closer and closer.
“I have only been here for three months, but I know there are people who have followed this club for 50 years.
“You can say history, it’s a big word, but when you have been with a club for many years, a cup run like this can be something special.
“There are huge emotions involved for the fans but, like I say, we can only think about Middlesbrough when we get there.
“For the next seven matches, only the fans can dream about that.”
The Middlesbrough tie is likely to take place on Tuesday, December 11.