Laudrup: Meulensteen right to rotate squad

Michael Laudrup has no complaints about Rene Meulensteen handing his Fulham squad a rest due to fixture congestion.

Rene Meulensteen of Fulham

In fact, Laudrup holds similar fears the Swans could face a nightmare schedule of their own next month. 

With the Cottagers facing Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Sunday, just over 48 hours before their Premier League clash at the Liberty Stadium, Meulensteen made 11 changes to his side in order to ensure his first-choice players remained fresh.

But that equation appears straightforward compared to what Swansea may have to endure in February.

Should the Welsh club draw their FA Cup fifth-round tie at Everton, the replay would take place at a time which would condemn them to playing five games in 10 days.

The run would start with the first leg of the Europa League last-32 meeting with Napoli on Thursday, February 20, before a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday, February 23.

The potential replay with Everton would take place the following Tuesday before a trip to Napoli on the Thursday and a home league meeting with Crystal Palace on the Sunday.

That nightmare scenario means Laudrup has no problems with Meulensteen's choice, but fears the schedule is harming the chances of English sides in Europe.

"When you are playing two games in 48 hours I can understand that. I agree with that," he said.

"I saw Meulensteen's statements. If they have a game Tuesday, why should they play Sunday? This game against us should be on Wednesday, this is the only place in the world where you play two games in 48 hours.

"Elsewhere you have 72 hours at least. If you play Saturday the next game is Tuesday, if you play Sunday it is Wednesday. So I understand that.

"We may have to do the same in February if we have an FA Cup replay. I heard it today, maybe we can change it but you have to finish the current round before the next round.

"The sixth round is on March 8 and in the midweek before there are international friendlies and the two midweeks before that are European games.

"But they knew that when they made the fixtures before the start of the season, that you could have teams playing in Europe who could have a replay.

"It does not help teams in Europe, it could happen for Chelsea and Manchester City.

"We all want Premier League teams to do well in Europe so I don't think it helps to play Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday. I am sorry I cannot really see how that helps."

For now, Laudrup will need to focus on facing Fulham with Swansea looking to end a run of eight Premier League games without a win and extend their three-point gap to the bottom three.

Five of the Swans' next six games are in the bottom half, and Laudrup admits these are fixtures they cannot afford to lose.

He said: "We cannot afford to lose these next four. I cannot tell you how many points we need, but the most important thing is to win.

"To have a win is crucial and that's why this is so important as it is a home game. It's very simple."

Laudrup made his first January signing with the arrival of David Ngog on a short-term deal from Bolton, while a deal for teenage Hearts midfielder Adam King is also close to completion.

Swansea held talks with Tom Ince over an initial loan move from Blackpool on Monday, but the England Under-21 cap will speak to other clubs before making a final decision over where to play for the remainder of the season.

"As far as I understand he has the okay from Blackpool so that is what he is doing," said Laudrup.

"I answered his questions as to how we do things here and that is what it is about but his contract is almost over and it is up to him what he wants to do."



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