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Swansea - Opposition Views


Jase

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SwansBlog was helpful in taking some time out to answer a few questions ahead of Sunday's important clash at Stamford Bridge. Here are the thoughts:

1. What have you made of Swansea’s season so far especially after, perhaps unexpectedly, claiming the Capital One Cup trophy?

Yet another season where we've defied all the pre-season predictions and exceeded our own expectations. Now the aim has to be to secure that top ten spot and better last seasons 11th place finish. Winning our first major trophy and getting to play in Europe next season is unbelievable but the league still has to be the priority.

2. Much has been made about the smooth transition of Michael Laudrup into English football this season with your team. What do you think has been the difference between Laudrup’s Swansea and Brendan Rodgers’s Swansea?

Without a doubt we've been a bit more direct and scored more goals under Michael Laudrup. He still likes to see us retain possession likes Brendan Rodgers did and other managers before him but he's made us more ruthless in attack. Our transition from defence or when we win possession to attack is a lot quicker and more direct.

3. Are there any aspects with your team that have disappointed you this season and think you can improve on? Why?

An area which has constantly been a thorn in our side is defending set pieces. Even before Michael Laudrup arrived at the club it's never been our strongest area and I really hope we can improve next season.

4. You will be playing in more games next season due to your involvement in the Europa League. How do you think Laudrup should go about managing the squad especially with the demands of the Premier League?

I don't think too much will change, he likes to make a tweak or two for every match to keep players fresh and maintain that competition in the squad so it won't be unfamiliar to the players next season. Hopefully we can add three or four new faces that will improve the group, give that little extra competition for places and allow him to rotate and guard against fatigue towards the end of the season.

5. What are your expectations for next season on your team?

Reaching 40 as soon as possible still has to be the main target. A decent run in Europe would be nice as well although combining both can be tough, especially as this is something we have no experience of. You only have to look at Newcastle to see how a decent run in the Europa League coupled with a few key injuries can derail your season so getting those 40 points is a must. Finishing above Cardiff would be great too.

6. Who has been your Player of the Season at Swansea? Why?

It's so difficult to pick one out this season, so I'll go for the two that should have been on the PFA player of the year shortlists. Obviously Michu has been outstanding, his goals have pushed up a level and he's been key to our success grabbing many headlines throughout the season. There is also our young full-back Ben Davies who stepped in for the injured Neil Taylor early in the season. He's had a remarkable season for someone enjoying his first taste of first team football, it'll be tough for Taylor to regain his spot.

7. The reverse fixture ended in a cagey and tight 1-1 draw. Do you expect a similar game tomorrow?

Not at all. I expect Chelsea to go all out tomorrow in pursuit of that final Champions League spot and it should be a very entertaining game.

8. You only lost once to us in 5 matches in all competitions (W1 D3 L1) since getting promoted to the Premier League last season. Why do you think your team seem to be able to match Chelsea in those games so far?

Our ability to retain possession and more importantly how we press when we havent got the ball and as a result we've been difficult to score against. I don't think it is something the bigger clubs are used to when facing the smaller teams so perhaps we've caught a few teams out.

9. If you could take 1 current Chelsea player to Swansea, who would it be and why?

Easy, Juan Mata. His awareness of where others are around him is exceptional and his ability to play that killer pass is superb, plus he can score a goal. He's also Spanish so he would have no trouble fitting in with all the other Spaniards at the club.

10. What line-up and formation Michael Laudrup is likely to put out tomorrow?

GK: Vorm; RB: Rangel, CB: Chico, CB: Williams; LB: Taylor; DM: Britton, CM: Ki Sung-Yueng, CM: de Guzman; WL: Pablo H, WR: Dyer, FW: Michu

11. What is your prediction for this game?

Chelsea to win by one goal.

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Good answers - hope he's right about our win ;)

As much as I hated being knocked out by Swansea - I do have a soft spot for them, love their attitude and can't wait to see Swansea vs Cardiff next season - what a couple of games that will be :)

So good luck to them from Monday onwards ;)

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