Swansea City in dreamland after Valencia win
MICHAEL Laudrup has told Swansea City to believe they can compete with the finest sides in Europe after their sensational 3-0 triumph in Valencia last night.
Swansea stunned one of the favourites to win the Europa League on their own patch, with goals from Wilfried Bony, Michu and Jonathan de Guzman clinching one of the most startling results in the club's 101-year history.
And Laudrup reckons his players will grow in stature thanks to their memories of the Mestalla.
"The players now know that they can play and compete without any problems even when they are playing against the big sides," said the Swansea manager.
"I don't know where this result ranks in Swansea's history — I have only been here 15 months so I will leave that to you guys to decide.
"But I think it was a great performance. It's only our fifth game in Europe and this was against a big team.
"It's great to see that even though we have a lot of players in our squad without international experience, the players do not have any problems even coming away from home to a club like Valencia.
"It was a great night, one of those to remember, and the great experiences continue for us. First we won the Capital One Cup, now we have come to Valencia and won 3-0 — it's fantastic."
Laudrup played down talk that Swansea are favourites to win Group A having kicked off their campaign by demolishing the top seeds on their own patch.
But he conceded: "Nobody expected us to get three points from this game, and the result gives us an advantage.
"But if we do not win our next game at home, we will be back where we started.
"We can be happy with this win, but unfortunately there is no time to celebrate. We have to start thinking about the Premier League again straightaway because we have a big game against Crystal Palace on Sunday."
Swansea's cause last night was helped considerably by the tenth-minute sending off of Valencia centre-back Adil Rami, who walked for a professional foul on Bony.
The Swansea striker put his team in front four minutes later, before Michu's neat finish and a fabulous de Guzman free-kick rounded off a fabulous victory.
"I know the early red card has an influence, but I have seen a lot of teams do very well even when they are down to ten men, especially when they are at home," Laudrup added.
"But we dominated the game from the first minute to the last. We scored three goals and we had three or four big chances, so it could have been even more."
Swansea were without Ashley Williams because of an ankle injury, but are hopeful that their skipper will be fit in time for the Palace trip.
Angel Rangel did not pick up an injury in Valencia, with Laudrup taking him off in a bid to keep him fresh for the weekend.
Valencia manager Miroslav Djukic faced questions about his future after Swansea's triumph.
"The team want to improve, but it was difficult after the red card," he said. "I don't fear for my job, I am just sad about the way we played."