VIDEO: Four-star Swansea City too hot for Sunderland
IN either of the last two seasons, eyebrows would have been raised.
Now, the declaration that Swansea City will not be relegated almost slips under the radar.
Michael Laudrup may not be convinced by those various pre-season predictions about how his team might trouble the top six or seven in the Premier League come next spring.
BELOW: Michael Laudrup in the post-match press conference:
But having spent the majority of his debut campaign stressing the need to get to 40 points, he seems much more confident about what his second year in Swansea will bring.
With a batch of awkward fixtures to negotiate, Swansea have made a steady rather than spectacular start to 2013-14.
Their most notable successes have been in the Europa League, and Laudrup concedes that problems can come when resources are split between domestic and cross-border competitions.
BELOW: De Guzman's verdict on the match:
But, says the Dane, that won't be the case for Swansea.
"Sometimes when a team are playing in Europe, they win, lose, draw, win and draw again and they think they feel their form is not too bad," said the Swansea manager.
"But the problem is if all the wins come in one competition and all the losses come in another.
"If the losses are in the Premier League, all of a sudden you look at the table and you are bottom or in the last three.
BELOW: Chico talks after the game:
"It can happen to clubs who are not used to playing in a lot of competitions — suddenly you struggle in the league.
"You saw it here with Newcastle last season, and I have seen it many times in Spain and Italy. In Spain I saw a club who were in the Champions League get relegated.
"But it will not happen to us, of course not."
Laudrup may have been less bullish had he not been speaking after Swansea's most comprehensive home victory in the Premier League.
Swansea needed a result against Sunderland. Ashley Williams said as much in his programme notes, and Huw Jenkins made it even plainer.
BELOW: Bony talks after the match:
"We need to start winning regularly again," the chairman wrote. "We need to win today."
So there was some pressure on Swansea as, for the first time this season, they played a home league game against opponents who are not contenders to finish in the top six.
To an extent, Laudrup's team had fallen into the European trap he mentions.
Before this weekend, they had three wins, two draws and one defeat from their six Liberty fixtures — a more than acceptable return of results.
The issue was, however, that the three successes were in the Europa League, meaning there was just one Premier League point on the board from three games played in SA1.
Laudrup would rightly point to the quality of Swansea's domestic opponents on home soil — Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal — as evidence when explaining the meagre return.
BELOW: Gus Poyet on the match:
But he did not argue with the suggestion that Swansea needed a maximum from the visit of the bottom club.
"Every game is big, but there are moments in a season which are important for you," he said.
"This week is one of them.
"We have three games in a row and if we could win them all we would be in a fantastic position.
"And I said to the players beforehand that Sunderland could be the most difficult of the lot because of the circumstances.
"Everybody expected us to win, but Sunderland came here with a new manager and often a new manager brings a good result."
The good news for Swansea was that Gus Poyet's Sunderland honeymoon was more Bognor than Barbados.
For a while it seemed the Uruguayan might enjoy himself on his first return to SA1 since he applied for the manager's job in 2009.
Last time he was at the Liberty, Poyet got a guided tour from Jenkins.
This time he was sent packing by Laudrup's team.
Swansea took a while to get going, and Poyet must have been fairly pleased with his first 45 minutes as a Premier League manager.
The hosts were sloppy in possession in the opening half, failing to move the ball quickly enough or accurately enough even as Sunderland sat off.
The result was the Black Cats creating the best chance before the break, Steven Fletcher getting free at a corner but volleying wide.
There was another set-piece scare for Swansea early in the second half, when Phil Bardsley sliced the ball over, but from then on the hosts took charge.
After Michu, Wilfried Bony and Nathan Dyer had all threatened to score, Angel Rangel flicked on Jonathan de Guzman's corner and the ball bounced in off Bardsley's knee.
Brittle Sunderland, who are now without a win in 12 top-flight games, crumbled as Swansea grew in confidence.
The goal of the game arrived inside a minute, de Guzman collecting possession from Routledge and bending a 25-yard gem into the top corner of Keiren Westwood's net.
At this stage, the Swansea goal of the season competition is shaping up to feature only one man, what with this and that special effort in Valencia.
After Swansea old boy Fabio Borini — given a clap when he came on — wasted a chance to get Sunderland back into it, de Guzman was denied another memorable goal as Westwood repelled his volley.
But Swansea's third arrived from the penalty spot, Craig Gardner tripping Leon Britton.
It was Swansea's first spot-kick in 56 league games, the last coming 587 days ago against Manchester City.
Scott Sinclair missed that one, but Bony made no mistake here, drilling his seventh of the season beyond Westwood's dive.
And there was more misery from Sunderland when Chico Flores met another de Guzman corner to register his first Premier League goal.
"Defending set-pieces was our Achilles heel last season, but we are defending them better now," Laudrup said.
"And the fact that we are scoring from them as well is very pleasing."
The dead-ball goals helped Swansea to a first league win on their patch since Newcastle were beaten way back in early March.
Their two most influential players were the two in midfield, with Britton setting the tempo and de Guzman having a hand in all four goals.
Laudrup had preferred the duo to Jonjo Shelvey — who was left out of a league starting side for the first time as a Swansea player — and Jose Canas, but stressed that those two may very soon be back.
"I think I am fortunate to have four very, very good midfielders," the Dane said.
"Whichever two I play, or even if I play three of them in some games, I am happy.
"I thought those two would be good because of the characteristics of this game, but the next game could be different.
"Both Jonjo and Canas did well against Southampton, so I feel fortunate."
Presumably, Poyet won't be quite as happy with his lot.
After this painful debut, the new Sunderland manager must be contemplating a long battle against relegation.
Happily for Swansea, Laudrup does not expect his team to be part of the scrap.