Michael Laudrup: Swansea City can upset Valencia crowd
MICHAEL Laudrup has challenged Swansea City to inspire catcalls from the stands when they face Valencia at the Mestalla tomorrow night.
Swansea fly to Spain this morning ahead of a mouthwatering debut in the Europa League group stage.
Laudrup insists there is no pressure on his team’s shoulders as they prepare to face the two-time Champions League runners-up.
And he believes Swansea have the ability to give Valencia a difficult night in front of an expectant home crowd.
Valencia have grown used to competing in the Champions League, so Europe’s other club competition is a step down for their followers.
On top of that, Miroslav Dukic’s team are in need of a result having lost three of their first four La Liga games this season.
“All of the pressure is on Valencia,” Laudrup declared.
“They have not had a good start to the season and they have a tough game against Sevilla coming up at the weekend.
“Their crowd are not like our fans.
“It’s like the theatre over there.
“They come in to the stadium, sit down and, if the team play well, they applaud. But if the team do not play well, they boo.
“Valencia have been one of the top clubs in Spain for a number of years and the fans will feel they are nearly the same as Real Madrid or Barcelona — they are used to playing in the Champions League.
“But now they play Swansea in the Europa League, so there is a lot of pressure on them. We have to try to take advantage of that.”
Swansea have only ever won one European away game — against Sliema Wanderers 31 years ago — but they travel in buoyant mood after battling back to take a point off Liverpool on Monday night.
Laudrup speaks after the draw against Liverpool:
Valencia, by contrast, are licking their wounds after going down 3-1 at Real Betis last Sunday night.
Having opened up the campaign with a 1-0 win over Malaga, Valencia have also been beaten by Espanyol and Barcelona. Nevertheless, Laudrup says Swansea begin as underdogs tomorrow.
“They are the favourites,” he added. “They are the top seeds in the group, but we will go there and try to play our game.
“We have had a tough start to the season and a game against Valencia is another difficult one for us, but we can come through this.” Pablo Hernandez will miss out on a return to his former club after picking up a hamstring injury in training.
The Spanish international is also expected to sit out Sunday’s trip to Crystal Palace.
Tickets for the Palace game, which kicks off at 1.30pm, are still available, while Swansea look set to take somewhere close to 2,000 fans to Valencia.