Michael Laudrup: Swansea City have to handle the pressure in Premier League
MICHAEL Laudrup admits Swansea City must cope better with the pressure points as they bid to survive in the Premier League.
Swansea's manager accepts that there will be times, particularly away from the Liberty Stadium, when his team are under the cosh in games.
He expects such periods to come at Newcastle United — and believes Swansea could do better during the difficult moments.
"When we play against the big teams, or against teams who are very strong physically, there will be times when we come under pressure," Laudrup said.
"We have to accept that and we have to cope with that.
"Newcastle will have big guys up front, like Southampton did with (Rickie) Lambert last weekend.
"We have to learn that he is not the dangerous one, because I've never seen someone score with a header from 18 yards.
"But we have to be alive to the second ball and the players coming in trying to get on to it. Newcastle have midfield players who can come in there, and we have to be more careful not to concede goals in that situation.
"We have to be more compact. We have to accept that sometimes we will not dominate the game by keeping possession because we are playing against good sides.
"But I think that is an area where we can improve. Sometimes we have to defend for five or six minutes — that's OK, but we have to stay in good shape and keep organised.
"We cannot have eight players in our own box, because then when we get the ball we have nowhere to go. We have to keep our shape and then play when we get the ball.
"We have shown we can do that, like against Manchester City and Liverpool, but we can improve."
Swansea claimed a point at Newcastle with a backs-to-the-wall performance 11 months ago, when the Toon carried far greater threat than their visitors but Michel Vorm managed a well-earned clean sheet.
Alan Pardew's team are in less impressive form right now than they were then, but Laudrup still regards them as heavyweight opponents.
"It would be naive to say we have to go there and control the game by keeping the ball," he added.
"We cannot do that for 90 minutes because they are a very physical side with a lot of technical quality as well.
"We have to react well when they put us under pressure, because we will always come under pressure in games."
Newcastle are themselves under pressure to perform having lost at home to West Ham last weekend.
Boss Alan Pardew has billed Swansea's visit as a crucial game as a result — though his plans have been hit by fresh injuries to Jonas Gutierrez and Yohan Cabaye and the suspension of Fabricio Coloccini.
"I think Newcastle see themselves as a club who should be up behind the top three," Laudrup said.
"They will look at the table and see the teams who are around fifth and sixth and think they should be up there, so maybe that's why they are talking about this being must-win.
"We have to be at our best but, if we are, we can bring something back with us this weekend."