We must be able to handle the favourites tag, says boss Laudrup
MICHAEL Laudrup believes Swansea City can grab Europa League Group A by the throat with victory over St Gallen tonight.
But after studying the DVDs, he has warned his players that it could take a while to squeeze the life out of their Swiss opponents.
Swansea host an in-form St Gallen side knowing victory will leave them three points clear at the top of their qualifying pool.
And Laudrup reckons it could also mean his players are only one result away from reaching the last 32.
Swansea begin as hot favourites with the bookmakers to back up last month's sensational win in Valencia with another success this evening.
But Laudrup has warned that nothing should be taken for granted against opponents who stunned Spartak Moscow at the Europa League play-off stage and kicked off their group campaign with an impressive 2-0 victory over Kuban Krasnodar.
"If we could win, we will have six points from two games and we will be three ahead with another home game against Kuban to come next," said the Swansea manager.
"I have to be careful, because sometimes you need ten points to get out of a group like this, but normally, if you get nine points, you should qualify.
"We would be in a great position if we have six after only two games, but we are playing against a side who have fantastic spirit.
"I watched the DVD of their play-off against Spartak and it was incredible.
"They drew 1-1 in Switzerland and then after 50 seconds of the second leg they were 1-0 down. Obviously I knew the result before I watched the game, but I didn't think it was possible for them to win 4-2 from there.
"But they did it, and that was thanks to their spirit and their character.
"They might not have the star names, but they keep on working hard. And that means we have to keep an eye on them. We have to try to control the game because we are at home, and I think we will probably do that.
"But even if we think we are doing well, they are the kind of team who can suddenly come back into the game."
There is no great pressure on Swansea during this European campaign given how long they have been away from Continental competition.
Every fixture is one to savour, every round they get through something for all at the Liberty to celebrate.
Laudrup's only goal in the competition was to reach the draw for the groups, something Swansea managed courtesy of comfortable wins over Malmo and Petrolul Ploiesti.
Having kicked off that stage with a win over Valencia, however, there will surely be some disappointment if Laudrup's team do not capitalise on that unlikely success.
"We had nothing to lose in Valencia," Laudrup added, "because nobody expected us to get anything away from home against the top seed in the group.
"But now everybody will say that for the moment at least, Swansea are the team to beat in the group because they won 3-0 in Valencia.
"People will say we are at home so we must be the favourites, so now we have to cope with that."
Whereas Swansea could play with freedom at the Mestalla, now St Gallen are the team with everything to gain.
"The Swiss league is not the Premier League, so now they are in exactly the same situation as we were in before Valencia," Laudrup conceded.
"It's always nice to play with no pressure, but sometimes you have to cope with that.
"And we have managed it before, like in the League Cup final when everybody said we have to win.
"I am not saying playing St Gallen is like playing Bradford, but people will say we are the favourites in this game and we have to handle that."