Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Laudrup relishing Premier League chance

New Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup earned 104 Denmark caps

New Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has admitted he did not want to regret "in 15 years' time" never having been a Premier League manager.

The Dane succeeds Brendan Rodgers charged with maintaining and improving the club's top-flight fortunes following a sparkling debut season last term. Rodgers, now in charge at Liverpool, inspired the Swans to an 11th-placed finish and won rave reviews for a stylish, creative approach that his players readily absorbed.

"As a youngster when I was living in Denmark we used to watch English football on television," Laudrup said. "I always thought there was something special about the atmosphere... This is a great opportunity for me. It's a big challenge, but I did not want to be sitting on the couch at home in 15 years' time saying to myself 'why didn't I do it?'"

Laudrup, capped 104 times by Denmark and among the finest footballers of his generation at clubs like Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid, is seen by many as a perfect fit for Swansea post-Rodgers.

"I never played here, but now I have the possibility as a manager," he said. The 47-year-old has confirmed that Erik Larsen, his assistant manager when he was in charge of Real Mallorca, is set to join him in west Wales.

But he will also take stock of what is at his disposal player-wise before looking to strengthen a Swansea squad that coped admirably last season when their scalps included champions Manchester City and Arsenal.

"We are going into the second season as a Premier League club, which is sometimes more difficult," he added. "Now, everyone knows who Swansea are, how they play and what they do. You have to try to find some other things that can surprise opponents.

"To finish in the middle of the table in the first season was a fantastic achievement, but what the team did last season, that was last season. I would like a new beginning, to come in and see how things are here.

"But change for change's sake, I don't think that is good. To sign seven or eight players does not make sense."

Among Laudrup's immediate priorities will be potential talks with 22-year-old Iceland midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, whose playing future appears to lie with either a permanent Swansea move or joining Rodgers at Liverpool.

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