Swansea face Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup with the first major trophy in the club’s 100-year history in sight
As he prepares for his team’s Capital One Cup quarter-final against Middlesbrough, Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup would love to mark the Welsh club’s centenary year with its first ever major trophy.
The Swans have already this season gone further in The Football League’s major knock-out competition than they have ever been before – the fourth round was their previous best – and a place in the last four will be up for grabs when they entertain Boro at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Their best FA Cup run ended at the semi-final stage and former Denmark striker Laudrup, who is in his first season of managing a British team, admitted: “I wasn’t aware that the club had never been to a final.
“So this game is very important because win and it’s the semi-final, and we’re talking about dreams of Wembley. We have to do everything to try and get there.
“It is a big thing. Okay, you go into the league and you say our target is to finish here or there, to avoid relegation, to be clear of it or to be mid-table, but no trophy.
“But in this competition it’s a possibility for us, so we’ve taken it from the beginning and to actually play for a trophy is something fantastic.”
As a player Laudrup won numerous honours with top European clubs Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Ajax, while since moving into management he has won league and cup titles with Brondby, in his native Denmark, and taken unfancied Getafe to Spain’s Copa del Rey final.
Taking Swansea to Wembley for the Capital One Cup Final would be seen as a similar achievement to the one at Getafe. “I had medals [as a player] with big teams,” said the 48-year-old manager, “but that’s different because you may go to a final and lose, but the next year you get the chance to go to another final and perhaps win.
“But at a smaller club it’s different. I can say it because I did it with Getafe where we reached a final and the quarter-final of the Europa League and it was a fantastic year.”
It could now be a fantastic year for Swansea, who are well-placed at eighth in the Premier League table as they head into their quarter-final against a Middlesbrough team that are also going well in league action, currently sitting third in the npower Championship and just three points below the automatic promotion places.
Laudrup said: “We are playing against a side who are one of my favourites to play in the Premier League next season. They are a good team with good players and had a good result against a strong Sunderland side in the last round.
“So they are a real threat to us. Be we have an opportunity to do something great, not only for the fans but for the players. How many of them have been in major finals? It is so different to play a game to win a trophy.”