Swansea City won't need motivating as they aim to make more history at Everton
MICHAEL Laudrup admits he faces a challenge to continue motivating his team as Swansea City play a fixture every few days.
Yet the manager will say only a few words when Swansea return to Premier League duty at Everton tomorrow.
No more than that, he argues, should be required.
"I'm going to say to the players that we all remember the first half when we played Everton at home," Laudrup explains.
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"We gave them two goals and we played very poorly.
"It was one of the worst halves of football we have played all season.
"I hope that mentioning that will be enough."
With so many games to plan for, it would almost be understandable if Laudrup momentarily took his eye off the ball somewhere along the line.
But the Dane is working hard to ensure that does not happen.
"When you play like we did at Chelsea, you wish you had seven days before the next game," he admits.
"Then you could have two, three or four days to enjoy the result before turning your attention to the next one.
"But already we are thinking about Everton.
"We play them away from home and we know what that means — they will come at us from the start."
You get the definite sense that for Laudrup, the wounds inflicted by Everton when they came to the Liberty Stadium back in September remain raw.
Swansea were thumped 3-0 by David Moyes's team who, not for the first time, took charge in SA1.
Laudrup's men struggled in possession and consequently found themselves on the back foot against a Toffees team which is not short of attacking talent.
The result was more than 30 Everton attempts on goal and a big display from Michel Vorm, who was Swansea's best player.
The Dutchman will be back in goal tomorrow having been on bench duty in midweek because Gerhard Tremmel has been designated as Swansea's Capital One Cup keeper.
And the chances are that Vorm will have to produce another big performance against opponents who very rarely lose at Goodison Park these days.
Everton's home record — five league wins, four draws and just one defeat in the league — is formidable, and they are not doing too badly on their travels either.
Beaten only once in their last 11 games, Moyes's men sit fifth in the table and look like genuine contenders to land a Champions League place this season.
Everton mix power and panache with physical presence and technical quality running right through their squad.
They have the subtlety of Leighton Baines — who is expected to be fit tomorrow despite an ankle problem — and Steven Pienaar down the left flank.
If Swansea are to get a result this weekend, that duo must be stopped.
Laudrup's men must also find a way to cope with the more muscular threats that are Marouane Fellaini and Victor Anichebe.
And then there is Nikica Jelavic, the former Rangers striker who has done well since heading south.
Swansea failed to handle that lot earlier in the season, and Everton duly inflicted a morale-sapping defeat.
Happily, of course, things have improved dramatically for the Laudrup regime since then.
And though energy levels may be a little short as Ashley Williams and Co get back on the team bus today, there should be no shortage of belief.
Everton aside, Swansea have taken points off all the big names since they climbed into the Premier League.
That fact should give them confidence even as they prepare for opponents who have given them problems in the past.
Yet Kevin Ratcliffe, Everton great and BBC Wales football pundit, does not see Swansea succeeding where they have failed previously this weekend.
"Swansea are as good as you let them be," the former Welsh skipper said this week.
"If you let them, they'll knock the ball about well, pass and move and create chances.
"If you don't allow them to do that they have to scrap, which isn't something they do best."
Laudrup might beg to differ, for his team have proved they can dig out results twice in the last couple of weeks in West London.
How much Swansea have left in the tank will be a concern, though, and it will be no surprise if Laudrup makes a few changes once more as he attempts to plot a path through the next six demanding weeks.
"We will have to see if we can cope with all the games," he concedes.
"A big test for me was the Christmas and New Year period and, of the 12 teams who I consider to be in our 'league', we were the only one who did not lose a game.
"We have had some great results as well, and we have also shown a lot of times already this season that we have the character to come back when things are not going 100 per cent our way."
And that bodes well for tomorrow.
Swansea, of course, have never beaten Everton in 16 encounters stretching back to 1930.
But then their record at Stamford Bridge was awful before the Capital One Cup semi-final, they had never won at Queens Park Rangers before this season and they have rarely got anything at Arsenal or St James' Park.
Laudrup's team have made a habit of making history this season.
Now comes the opportunity to do so once again.