Swansea City column: Cup exit is no bad thing
WHILE nobody ever wants to see their club lose to lower-league opposition, Swansea's exit from the Capital One Cup at Birmingham has been seen by many as a blessing in disguise.
Last year's run in the competition ended with a Wembley cakewalk against Bradford and silverware for the Swans.
But this year supporters have been very dismissive of the competition, with some going as far as saying they were glad to see the team eliminated.
Michael Laudrup made wholesale changes for the trip to St Andrew's last week and the performance implied the match was seen as little more than an inconvenience.
No complaints or concerns were voiced after the defeat by fans who were more focused on their league fixture with Arsenal.
Is it right that supporters take such a blasé attitude to the competition, especially seeing as last year's success in the cup meant a European tour this season?
The simple answer is yes.
Swansea's fixture list is already absurdly full with league and Europa League commitments. As the season progresses any extra games can put a strain on the squad.
Laudrup is already having to manage his players carefully due to injuries, especially in defence.
Against Arsenal Ashley Williams, Angel Rangel and Garry Monk were all ruled out through injury and Laudrup had to resort to putting forgotten 21-year-old Daniel Alfei on the bench.
There was even an appeal from Laudrup last week for Wales to use captain Williams sparingly in order to manage his fitness.
These concerns may seem small now but with seven months remaining in the season, overworking players could come back to hurt us later on in the year.
The Capital One Cup is realistically the fourth most important competition for the Swans this season after the league, Europe and the FA Cup. Sacrificing that is likely to benefit the squad in the long run.
It will be interesting to see who starts against St Gallen in the Europa League. After the unforgettable victory against Valencia the Swans have a greater licence to rest players against the Swiss visitors.