Swansea City: Laudrup shuffles his pack to keep his squad fresh
MICHAEL Laudrup will leave out the spine of his team in Romania tonight in a bid to ensure Swansea City have the backbone to come through a hectic season.
Swansea skipper Ashley Williams, midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and striker Wilfried Bony were all left behind when Laudrup's squad flew out to Eastern Europe yesterday.
And though Michel Vorm has travelled, Swansea's first-choice goalkeeper will start on the bench in this evening's Europa League play-off second leg tie against Petrolul Ploiesti.
Swansea's thumping win 5-1 in the first leg seven days ago has gave Laudrup the option of leaving some of his big-hitters out of the return fixture.
And the Dane reckons he has no choice but to rotate his squad given the demands that will be put on his players this term.
Williams, Shelvey, Bony and Vorm are all expected to start when Swansea play West Brom in the Premier League on Sunday.
But while the majority of their club-mates will get a chance to put their feet up after the Albion trip, that quartet will all head off on international duty.
"Ashley has some problems with his ankle and his hips, Bony's ankle is not 100 per cent and Jonjo has been struggling with his knee for a couple of weeks," Laudrup said.
"If Petrolul was the last game of the season, they would all be playing. The injuries are not serious.
"But they all have international games coming up so I said okay, there is a possibility to give them some time to recover.
"They are not being rested. It's giving them that chance because they will not get it next week."
Laudrup revealed that both Williams and Shelvey had picked up their injuries on international duty earlier this month.
Wales skipper Williams and club colleague Ben Davies both played the full 90 minutes in Wales's friendly draw with the Republic of Ireland.
There was some disappointment at the Liberty that the defensive duo were not substituted in that game given the workload they are facing — but Laudrup shied away from criticising Chris Coleman.
"I don't want to create any problems now because we cannot turn the clock back now," he added.
"What has happened has happened, and the next three international breaks are qualifiers so they are completely different.
"The national coach needs players for six or seven games a year. I need to manage those players because I need them all the time.
"As I have said before, I think it's great that a small club like us have so many international players, but there is always a price to pay.
"My job is to try to manage the situation in a good way, for the best of my players and for the best of my squad."
Swansea are also without Neil Taylor and Nathan Dyer in Romania, meaning Laudrup does not have great deal of options when it comes to selecting his side.
Taylor will be sidelined for up to six weeks with thigh problem, while Dyer is battling a hamstring problem.
But despite the absentees, Laudrup is confident his reshuffled team will be strong enough to come through against Petrolul.
And though Swansea go into the game with a four-goal advantage, he is demanding a positive performance.
"Our mentality is to try to win this game," Laudrup insisted.
"You could argue that after losing two games in the Premier League, we need to get a point or some points against West Brom so we should just relax in this game.
"But the best way to relax, if I can use that word, is to go in with the right attitude and dominate the game.
"The worst thing we can do as a team is go out and say we will just do enough to get through.
"Petrolul will throw everything at us — it will be all or nothing for them — so if we think we can get through easily, we are very wrong.
"We have to go out and try to score a goal. Maybe then we can relax in the last half an hour — but never from minute one, even when you are 5-1 up."