Michael Laudrup believes Swansea City can do something special in Chelsea semi-final
1964 was a great year for Swansea City. Michael Laudrup was born.
The old advert about 1966, English football and Eric Cantona sprang to mind as Laudrup looked to the media for clarification about the date of Swansea's last foray into the last four of a major competition.
When he was given the answer, Laudrup raised a smile.
"1964?" he said. "That was a nice year. I was born then."
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And so, as Laudrup quickly pointed out, it has been almost 50 years since Swansea reached the semi-final of one of the big cups.
It all ended in tears in '64, Swansea Town losing 2-1 to Preston at Villa Park thanks to one freak goal and one dodgy penalty.
Their only other appearance at the last four-stage was almost four decades further back, when they faced Bolton at White Hart Lane in 1926.
Swansea were favourites to reach the FA Cup final, but a sloppy start saw them slip 3-0 behind early on and they never recovered.
Now comes the chance for Swansea to change the record, to get beyond this stage and reach a major final for the first time.
It will not be easy, not against opponents whose squad is littered with stellar names.
Rafael Benitez is without John Terry and Petr Cech through injury tonight, while Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel are away at the African Cup of Nations. But still the Spaniard will send out a side which is packed with megamoney signings.
Does Benitez start with Eden Hazard (£32 million), Juan Mata (£23.5 million) or Oscar (£25 million) behind his centre-forward?
And does he opt for £50 million man Fernando Torres or Demba Ba — a £7.5 million snip thanks to a clause in his contract — up front? These are nice problems for a manager to have.
"Chelsea are the big favourites to win this cup," says Laudrup. "That's just logic, that everybody in football says they are favourites.
"Three of their players cost more than the other three teams in the semi-finals put together, so they have to accept being favourites.
"They have so much offensive potential — now even more because they have signed Ba.
"Mata is a key player for them, then they have Hazard and Oscar and maybe Frank Lampard coming from the second line. They will be a handful, for sure, but that's normal."
For all Chelsea's stars, Laudrup believes Swansea should walk out at Stamford Bridge with confidence because of what they have done against the top sides this season.
"All the games we have played against the big clubs have been very tight," he adds. "I hope this will be the same, although it is harder over two legs than it would be in one game.
"But I hope we can take confidence from what we have done this season. We will give it a try."