Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Laudrup wants quality not quantity

Michael Laudrup insists his smaller squad can handle European football next term

Michael Laudrup has no plans to increase the size of Swansea's squad to cope with the demands of European competition, as he follows the example of former club Barcelona.

The 5-0 Capital One Cup final win over Bradford at Wembley secured the Welsh club's first major piece of silverware, and with it a place in next season's Europa League. Swansea were given a taste of the pressures a Europa League campaign would put on them during a period over Christmas and New Year which saw play 11 games in 37 days.

Laudrup was delighted with how his squad handled such a schedule and, combined with what he has seen at the Nou Camp, does not believes a host of new signings will be needed. "I know one year that Barcelona played with 19 first-team players, as well as a few younger players, and they played every three days. It is possible," he said.

"I know again the risks if you get an injury. Look at what happened to us when Neil Taylor broke his ankle the day after the transfer window shut.

"That has special implications, but I don't believe in having 27 or 28 players. You won't have 27 players who are at the same level, so you will still have five or six who never play.

"I think if you take all the games this season, even the two-and-a-half months when we played every three days and had injuries, we always had a competitive team.

"I don't recall us ever having only 15 or 16 players to choose from. I felt in that period everyone had an importance in the team."

He added: "I think two players for each position is more than enough, just about 22 players.

"That way you can still have some young players, someone with talent and potential (on the fringes of the squad).

"That means everyone feels important and the young players get the feeling that they are not so far away from playing."

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