Swansea City v Wigan: Michael Laudrup makes a change in emphasis
MICHAEL Laudrup has set his sights on a clean sheet this weekend as Swansea City go in search of a much-needed victory against Wigan Athletic.
Laudrup does not want his approach to be “misunderstood” going into what could be a pivotal fixture for his team.
But having seen his team concede 11 goals in their last five Premier League outings, the Dane admits that something must be done.
“Maybe one of the most important things this weekend will be to keep a clean sheet,” Laudrup said.
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“We know that if we do that then we will get a draw even if we have a day when we don’t take our chances.
“We know we will probably score a goal, because we have created chances in nearly every game we have played.
“We have scored double the number of goals compared to last season (12 against six) but we have conceded one or two more (11 against nine).
“That’s what we have to improve. We have to try to say to ourselves mentally that we want a clean sheet this weekend.”
Swansea will start as warm favourites with the bookmakers to overcome a Wigan side whose only league win to date this term came at Southampton back in August.
But Roberto Martinez’s men finished last season in sensational form, and have been unfortunate not to gather more points so far in this campaign.
The Latics represent dangerous opponents for a Swansea team whose confidence has been hit by a run of four league games without a victory.
And with league matches against Manchester City and Chelsea up next, a Swansea success this Saturday would be timely.
Laudrup believes a first shutout since the win over West Ham on August 25 could be the key.
“I know it could be misunderstood — I hope people don’t think we are playing at home and thinking more about keeping a clean sheet than scoring a goal,” he added.
“I hope they know what I mean when I say we want a clean sheet.
“We don’t want to be defensive-minded, but if we get a clean sheet then we will probably win the game.”
Swansea were today set to welcome back their international contingent to training ahead of the Wigan clash.
Ashley Williams and Ben Davies played for Wales in Croatia, while Michel Vorm was an unused substitute in Holland’s win over Romania in Bucharest.
Swansea’s biggest concerns are likely to be over Ki Sung-Yueng, who played 90 minutes for South Korea in their 1-0 defeat in Iran.
“Obviously Ki’s condition will be important,” Laudrup said.
“It’s not a problem playing on Tuesday then Saturday, but we have to see how he is when he comes back.
“He has played very well in our last two games, especially against Reading when I thought he was outstanding.”