Laudrup won't take risks with Michu
Published 29/01/2014 | 15:27
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup will not take any risks with Michu's fitness for the upcoming south Wales derby against Cardiff.
The Swans will look to avoid becoming the first side to lose both league meetings between the local rivals in the same season, having lost 1-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium in November.
Michu, a talismanic figure for Laudrup and Swansea during last season's successful Capital One Cup run and ninth-placed Premier League finish, has endured an injury-hit 2013-14 campaign.
The 27-year-old is currently sidelined having undergone ankle surgery at the end of December; knee and ankle problems have hindered him throughout the season.
But the Spain international is nearing a return to action, and has stated he is hoping to be available to face the Bluebirds a week on Saturday.
A fit Michu would be another boost for Laudrup after Tuesday's 2-0 victory over Fulham - courtesy of deflected goals from Jonjo Shelvey and Chico Flores - ended a winless run of eight league games and gave the Welsh club some valuable breathing space above the wrong end of the table.
But no matter how much the Dane may want the forward back in action, he will not rush him, particularly with a busy February to come.
"Getting him back would be like having a new signing," said Laudrup.
"But we're not talking about a two-week injury. He had surgery at the end of December, before that he had an injury in the last derby on his other ankle, so he has been out for quite some time this season.
"We well know it is one thing to be fit, and another to be match fit.
"So I don't want to put pressure on Michu and say he will back in the derby and have everybody think he can play 75 minutes without a problem and be at his best.
"I think we can all agree that when we play Cardiff we will need everyone at their best and normally when you have players who have been out for quite some time you have to ease them back in.
"So even if he is fit to play it is not likely he will start. If he could play 15 or 20 minutes, I do not know.
"But we have a lot of games in Febuary with Stoke, Everton, Napoli, Liverpool and Napoli again.
"We have games every two or three days so there will be plenty of games for everyone."
The win over the Cottagers may not have been pretty, and required a slice of fortune with Shelvey's opener taking two wicked deflections to leave Fulham keeper Maarten Stekelenburg helpless, but the midfielder believes a change of luck was long overdue for the Swans.
Shelvey said: "To be fair you need a bit of luck in football and I don't think we've had that too much of late; we never seem to get a tap in it's always got to be a wonder goal or we have to pass it into the net.
"We needed a bit of luck and perhaps this is a sign we're going to start getting it.
"But I don't think we've been feeling the pressure, you look around the place and it's so relaxed.
"It's the same atmosphere I came into at the start of the season so, personally, I don't feel any pressure here.
"I'm the type of character that thinks you have to stay cool, there's no point getting nervous because it's not going to help you.
"But I think we've got the right manager to help us stay calm, you know what he's like, he's a very calm person and has obviously been in situations much bigger than this so he'll help us."