Swans boss hopes for kind draw

Michael Laudrup hopes Friday's Europa League play-off round draw sends Swansea away from home first - but not far away.

Last Updated: 08/08/13 at 22:25 Post Comment

Michael Laudrup: Hoping to avoid long-haul trip

Michael Laudrup: Hoping to avoid long-haul trip

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Swansea drew 0-0 with Malmo in the Swedbank Stadion in their third qualifying round second-leg tie, ensuring a 4-0 aggregate victory.

They will be one of 31 seeded teams for the draw in Nyon, and could face another trip to Scandinavia with the likes of Iceland's FH, Esbjerg of Denmark, Norwegian duo Tromso and Molde and Swedish outfit Elfsborg all potential opponents.

However, there is also the possibility of a long-haul trip across the continent. Motherwell's conquerors Kuban Krasnodar, Azerbaijan side FK Qarabag and a trio of Romanian clubs - Astra Giurgiu, Petrolul Ploiesti and Pandurii Targu Jiu - are also among those on the opposite side of the draw.

After the goalless draw, Laudrup said: "We will be seeded so that is good and means we avoid some of the big teams in there, although there are good teams in the other half (of the draw).

"There are some Swedish, Danish and Norwegian teams and some Eastern European sides as well.

"I hope we will have a good short trip. This has been perfect, but I would like to play away in the first leg."

Swansea again looked resolute in southern Sweden - they have conceded just one goal in the whole of pre-season - and Laudrup expressed his admiration for defender Chico Flores on his return from injury.

The Spaniard's father died last week but he turned in a tremendous performance alongside Ashley Williams at the heart of the Swansea defence.

Laudrup said: "He has had a hard time, especially off the pitch with things in his private life and he has been injured too.

"He has shown character to quickly move on and it is good to have him back."

Michu, Wayne Routledge and Jonathan de Guzman failed to take the Welsh side's best chances on the night, while Wilfried Bony had a goal incorrectly chalked off for offside.

"I am satisfied overall," said Laudrup, who made seven changes from the first leg.

"We are through to the next round. We knew we were almost there and I think it was a professional performance.

"They had a good chance in the opening moments but we dominated the game and had good opportunities.

"From these two games, we have two clean sheets and have not given our opponent many chances.

"If we want to find something negative, we did not play that well offensively. We have to do much better in that area but when you play away you can't always dominate and clean sheets are very important.

"I am very happy with that. Next week it's Manchester United in the Premier League, but when you have that confidence it is important for the whole team, not just goalkeepers and defenders."

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lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

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