Laudrup brushes off Swans relegation talk

Michael Laudrup is sure Swansea will avoid relegation and has assured supporters he has the stomach for a battle against the drop.

Michael Laudrup, Swansea

The Swans face Tottenham at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday looking to end a run of seven Barclays Premier League games without a win.

Laudrup's injury-hit side now lie just three points above the relegation zone, and currently have first-team regulars Jonathan de Guzman, Pablo Hernandez, Nathan Dyer, Michel Vorm and Michu sidelined.

Five of Swansea's next seven games are against teams in the bottom half of the table, and will go a long way to deciding if they are in the scrap to avoid the drop during the final weeks of the season.

But their Danish manager has every confidence they will be a top-flight club next term.

He said: "I would prefer to sit here with 29 or 30 points, but in the long term it is a good thing for the team and even for the club to see how it is as when you come out of a situation like this, I am sure we will stay up and we will appreciate it more.

"I am sure some people think it is no big deal being a mid-table team in the Premier League as we have finished 11th and ninth.

"Then you look down and see teams that have been in the Premier League for many years and they are struggling.

"But I am sure at the other end of the tunnel we will still be in the Premier League."

Laudrup's glittering playing career did not involve brushes with relegation, as he instead enjoyed success with Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Ajax.

But during his managerial career in Spain his Getafe and Mallorca sides had to battle to avoid dropping out of the Primera Division.

"This is not the first time for me (to be near the relegation zone)," he said.

"I had it with Getafe and Majorca, who were smaller teams as well. It was new to me then as I was good enough and lucky enough to always play for teams that went for the title or the Champions League.

"You have to adapt to the reality. You can beat the big teams in the cups, but in the league the best will always be at the top.

"A lot of small things can make the difference between eighth, ninth or 10th or being relegated. But it is important to suffer and I think it's good.

"It's never nice when you are in it, but to win after a difficult moment is very nice.

"I read another manager who said there is much more pressure on playing to avoid relegation than for the title. If you are a top team and play for the title but finish second or third you can say 'hey, next year we have to win it'.

"If you are relegated the next season you play in the second tier and need another good year to get back into the Premier League. It is much more difficult."

One man who has previous experience of relegation is Swans winger Wayne Routledge, who was part of the Crystal Palace squad which went down in 2005.

Routledge went on to join Sunday's opponents Tottenham, but admits the pain still lingers.

"It's impossible to put into words, it's painful," he said. "I wouldn't know how to compare it to other jobs, it is what it is.

"Until it happens to you, you don't know how it feels.

"With the success we have had here it has not really reared its head up but, with the position we are in now, the questions will come.

"Every time you talk about it, it hurts. I don't know if that will ever leave. Touch wood it never happens again."



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