Swansea can give Welsh football a massive boost by beating Chelsea to reach the Capital One Cup final, says Wales manager Chris Coleman
Wales manager and former Swansea City central defender Chris Coleman is willing his first club to beat favourites Chelsea in the two-leg Capital Cup semi-final and then go on to lift what would be the first ever major trophy in the Swans' 100-year history.
That, says Coleman, would be an entirely fitting way to mark the club's centenary and - 12 months after national rivals Cardiff City went within a penalty shoot-out of winning the competition's final - would also give Welsh football a huge boost.
As he looked ahead to Wednesday evening's first leg of the tie at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge, Coleman said: "Welsh football is in a good state at the minute, with Swansea doing well in the Premier League and Cardiff top of the npower Championship.
"Cardiff went so close to beating Liverpool in last year's League Cup final, and if Swansea could now go through and win the trophy it would be a massive achievement and absolutely superb for Wales as a footballing nation."
Swansea will be underdogs against a Chelsea team that have been in sparkling form in the last month or so and are heading into the semi-final having hit 16 goals in their three Capital One Cup ties to date.
The Swans have also produced some fine results this season, knocking holders Liverpool out in the last round of the cup and, in the Premier League, winning at Arsenal and holding both leaders Manchester United and Chelsea to draws.
But they will find it hard to beat Chelsea to reach Wembley believes Coleman, who after playing for the Swans turned out for Crystal Palace, Blackburn Rovers and Fulham then managed clubs at home and abroad before taking on the Wales job.
"Swansea will need a bit of luck to beat Chelsea over two legs,î he said, "but they had some fortune to come through the last round against Middlesbrough so who knows, this may be the competition where they get the luck to go all the way.
"But in any case they're playing some great football at the minute, and in Michael Laudrup they've got a very astute manager. He'll plan the two legs well and he's got a good enough squad to create what I would call a bit of an upset by reaching the final.
"If it happens I won't call it a major upset because Swansea have already proved this season that they can match anyone, and they'll be going into this first leg thinking that they can getting something out of it to take back to the Liberty Stadium.
"A one-goal defeat in the first leg wouldn't be the end of the world, but if they can nick a goal and go back with a decent result they would be in a really good position because Premier League teams don't like going to the Liberty Stadium.
"Swansea's style of play is very patient, keeping possession, and opponents get impatient ñ they start losing their shape because they go trying to win the ball and Swansea can then look to capitalise on that.
"It's going to be difficult for them to get past the favourites, there's no doubt about that. But I think this is their best chance to go all the way and win a major trophy, so let's hope that the Capital One Cup is destined to end up in Wales this season."