Laudrup eyes top-10 finish

Michael Laudrup admits it will be hard to settle for guaranteeing Barclays Premier League survival after the success of this season.

Last Updated: 07/04/13 at 19:18 Post Comment

Michael Laudrup: Wants Swansea to finish in the top half

Michael Laudrup: Wants Swansea to finish in the top half

Michael Laudrup admits it will be hard to settle for guaranteeing Barclays Premier League survival after the success of this season - even if that should be their true goal.

The Capital One Cup winners' post-Wembley hangover finally lifted on Saturday when they ended their three-match losing streak with an entertaining 2-2 draw at Norwich.

With hopes of a top-10 finish in the Premier League revived, Laudrup has been forced to consider the ramifications of a campaign that has defied all expectations.

"The people in Swansea are very realistic, but you must also accept that when you get the taste of success you like it and want more. You don't want to be down at the bottom," he said.

"It will be very difficult for me, the club and players to say in August that if we can finish the season in 17th with 40 points then that would be a success.

"Maybe it would be because we are still one of the bottom clubs in terms of transfers and salaries, but it would still be hard to say that.

"It will be a difficult year for us next year and that's why we must do well in the transfer window and keep as many of our important players as possible."

Laudrup argues that closer examination of Swansea's recent slump disproves the theory of a drop in performance levels since thrashing Bradford City 5-0 at Wembley in February.

The Dane believes they should have secured a point at West Brom and were simply outplayed by Arsenal and Tottenham, viewing the extra class of Santi Cazorla and Gareth Bale as the difference.

For the opening half hour at Carrow Road they were superb and were rewarded by Michu's opener, but Norwich struck back with goals from Robert Snodgrass and Michael Turner until Luke Moore rescued a point with 15 minutes remaining.

Now that they have "stopped the bleeding", Laudrup insists only a top-10 finish will do.

"It's so easy to go into a bad run. A lot of teams have had bad runs - Norwich, Sunderland, Wigan," he said.

"In the last three games we should have drawn one and lost two narrowly. Suddenly you've lost three in a row.

"It's said that the players are already on vacation, are thinking about next season, but it's not true.

"People from the outside just look at the results. They haven't seen all our games. But now we've stopped the bleeding, which is good.

"For me the target should be a top-10 spot because we've been there for quite some time.

"Like a lot of teams, for us the target at the start of the season is to reach 40 points.

"That means you should be safe and when you get there you have to set a new target and for us that should be a top-10 finish. Top 10 plus the cup would be historic for Swansea."

While Laudrup is casting his gaze up the table, Norwich boss Chris Hughton is looking over his shoulder at the relegation battle unfolding beneath.

The point failed to put any distance between the Canaries and the bottom three and Hughton knows they face a white knuckle ride during their remaining six matches.

"Yes you can enjoy the job in this situation and it's important to enjoy the challenge," Hughton said.

"Any time you shy away from it, you make life difficult for yourself. You certainly have to have faith in your team and that I do.

"You also look around and see clubs who are more experienced than us, bigger than us and have spent more money than us in a similar position. You take strength from that."

Norwich captain Grant Holt, a late substitute, was lucky to escape punishment for a nasty challenge on Chico Flores that saw him stamp down on the defender's shin.

Hughton has defended the veteran forward, claiming the act was motivated by enthusiasm rather than malice.

"For Grant there's that thin line because he wants to come on and make an impact," he said.

"Grant is a very determined player and if I look at the bookings he's picked up when he's come on, it's nothing malicious, just an over-exuberance.

"It's not frustration at coming on late, that's part and parcel of the game. Grant understands that. He's our club captain and will play a part in the rest of the season."


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