We are taking it one game at a time, says Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup
MICHAEL Laudrup has got Swansea City dreaming about what might be achieved this season.
But the manager's first task when Swansea return to training today will be to ensure that his players' heads are not in the clouds.
The fans, says Laudrup, are allowed to let thoughts drift towards the rewards which may be on offer come the end of the season.
"But the rest of us," he adds, "the players, the manager and the coaches, have to take one game at a time.
"We are doing well in the league and have a quarter-final coming up in the Capital One Cup.
"It could be the first time ever we reach the semi-final, but we have to take our time."
Laudrup has treated the League Cup seriously from the start.
He has had previous knockout success as a coach in Spain, and is not one of those managers who is prepared to sacrifice the cups for the sake of Premier League form.
The home tie with Middlesbrough in eight days' time will already be on Laudrup's mind, for there is a chance for Swansea to do something special in the competition after they won so impressively at Anfield in the previous round.
But the Dane will endeavour to make sure Ashley Williams and company focus first on Saturday's league meeting with Norwich City.
His team are on the charge right now, and he will aim to keep that surge going for as long as possible.
"When you are in a positive moment like this, only losing once in the last nine league games, you want to maintain the momentum. That's very important," Laudrup says.
"We know there will be bad moments. We have already been there this season when, after a great start, we had three straight losses.
"That was a difficult moment for us, but we have bounced back and that shows character."
To say Swansea have "bounced back" does not really do their turnaround in fortunes justice.
The signs were not good in September, when Swansea gained only one point from a possible 12 — and that was thanks to a home draw with a Sunderland side who are now flirting with the relegation places.
Not only that, but they were overrun on their own patch by Everton and beaten without putting up much of a fight at Aston Villa and Stoke.
Anyone suggesting after the dispiriting 2-0 defeat at the Britannia on September 29 that Swansea would be three points off the Champions League places come early December would have been laughed out of the Potteries.
Yet here Swansea are, having lost only one of their last ten matches, being billed as potential contenders for a European place.
Their supporters are entitled to dream just now, because the achievements of Laudrup's team have fuelled the belief that they can outdo the achievements of last season.
There were some who wondered if things could ever get better for Swansea after a final-day victory over Liverpool back in May secured an 11th-place Premier League finish for Brendan Rodgers's team.
There is still a huge distance to travel before this campaign draws to a close, but Swansea's form in the last couple of months suggests that a top-half finish is achievable.
Any more than that would be all the more remarkable, and then there is the chance to make more history in the League Cup — not to mention the FA Cup.
In short, things are shaping up very nicely indeed for the Laudrup regime.
"We have just had a fantastic week," he concedes.
Victory at Arsenal last weekend goes down as arguably the most impressive away result in Swansea's 100-year history.
They won at Highbury on their last visit to the top flight three decades ago, and also beat then Uefa Cup holders Ipswich on their own patch.
But Swansea have not often turned over one of English football's powerhouses on their own patch down the years.
Before the Emirates triumph there was success against West Bromwich Albion, a less glamorous name but a team in better form than the Gunners so far this season.
Swansea not only beat the Baggies, they did so thanks chiefly to a 45-minute display which was as good as anything Laudrup has witnessed during his coaching career.
Prior to the Albion win was a draw with Liverpool, and before that was another head-turning away triumph, this time at St James' Park.
Swansea's only defeat since Stoke came with no shame — they went down 1-0 at fortress Etihad, and even then they could consider themselves unfortunate not to have left with a point.
Swansea's form is all the more impressive when injuries are taken into account.
At Arsenal, for example, Swansea outplayed their hosts despite the absence of five frontline players, at least four of whom would have started the game had they been available.
Michel Vorm is established as first-choice goalkeeper, and the same goes for Neil Taylor at left-back.
Pablo Hernandez and Wayne Routledge have been two of the stars of the Laudrup era, while Danny Graham still has a big part to play despite his struggle for game-time of late.
There are others who have had fitness problems in recent weeks, like Ki Sung-Yueng, Chico Flores and Jonathan de Guzman, so for Swansea to be placed so handily in the table is all the more impressive.
If they overcome Norwich — and results elsewhere go their way — Swansea could be third in the Premier League come Saturday evening.
Then even Laudrup may allow himself a moment to dream.