Michael Laudrup urges Swansea City to mimic Manchester United
MICHAEL Laudrup reckons Swansea City must take a leaf out of Manchester United's book as they aim to continue their Premier League progress.
Swansea's manager is hungry to inspire an upturn in fortunes at Norwich City this weekend after seeing his team suffer three successive defeats.
And though he is not suggesting his team can expect to rival the feats of United, he is convinced Swansea can learn lessons from Sir Alex Ferguson's champions-in-waiting.
Laudrup is hungry to ensure that a late-season slump in form does not put a blemish on what has been a spectacular debut campaign in English football.
And he says: "I watched Manchester United play Sunderland last weekend. They played a very, very average game but they won 1-0 because they know exactly what they have to do in those situations.
"They can play badly and they can win, and that's something we have to try to achieve.
"I am not saying we have to compare ourselves to a team like Manchester United, but it's good to take small steps in mentality all the time as we try to become a bigger and bigger club.
"That should be an aim for us."
Despite defeats to Tottenham, Arsenal and West Brom, Swansea remain ninth in the league table.
However, Fulham's win over Queens Park Rangers means they are now only a point behind Swansea with a game in hand.
The likes of West Ham and Southampton are also making up ground, and Laudrup says sliding down the league in the closing weeks of the campaign would leave a bitter taste.
"I would be really disappointed if we ended the season with 44 points having had 37 with 11 games to go," he concedes.
Given that there are fixtures ahead at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge — and Manchester City are due in SA1 — there is some pressure on Swansea to get something at Carrow Road this Saturday.
And Laudrup admits his players must learn that they cannot ease off even when certain goals have been achieved.
"After every result, we have to go on and say 'This is a new game'," he adds.
"We said after the cup final that we only had one game a week so we had a chance to concentrate on every opponent.
"We haven't been bad in the games we have played since then, but we have lost three of them because we have lacked that last five per cent."
Swansea reached the 40-point landmark a week after Wembley when they won a tight game against Newcastle United, but they have not got anything since.
Now they face a Norwich side who, just as was the case with Arsenal and Spurs, are in need of a result.
The Canaries have been in miserable form, slipping to within four points of the drop zone having won only one of their last 14 league games.
But Laudrup aims to ensure Swansea match Norwich for motivation — by driving home the importance of sustained success.
"We have to use this situation for next season, as a team and as individuals," he says.
"It might take four, five, six or seven years, but we have to try to move from where we are now.
"We have to move from being a young team in the Premier League to a mid-table team.
"That means we need a change of mentality in all aspects — as a team, as individuals and as a club."