MICHAEL LAUDRUP hailed Swansea’s League Cup triumph as the greatest moment of his managerial career after leading them to a first major trophy in their 101-year history.
Laudrup also compared Sunday’s thrashing of League Two Bradford to his biggest successes as a player, including winning the European Cup with Barcelona 21 years earlier.
“As a manager, it’s absolutely at the top, winning a trophy for the first time in over 100 years,” said the former Denmark midfielder, who took charge only eight months ago.
“It’s one thing to win a cup with Barcelona, Madrid or Juventus. But to win it with a smaller team like Swansea is absolutely fantastic.” But the Swansea manager insisted the achievement still paled in comparison to the club’s 2003 escape from relegation from the Football League and promotion to the Premier League in 2011.
“Maybe those two moments are more important, but I think the first major trophy in a club ranks very highly in the history of a club.”
The 48-year-old refused to contemplate what masterminding Sunday’s win would mean for Swansea City or himself, having been linked with a move to bigger clubs.
“You work for 10 months just to enjoy three days. Let’s enjoy this day for just a couple of days and then we have weeks and months to think about next season.”
Swansea’s victory was soured somewhat by an on-field row between Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman after the latter refused to allow his team-mate to take a penalty that might have completed the first hat-trick in League Cup final history. Dyer said: “I thought I should have got the ball, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Laudrup denied Dyer had been upset, admitting he had not designated a penalty taker because Swansea had not been awarded a spot kick all season.
“It’s my fault because I didn’t even say who was going to take a penalty when we got one because I thought we would go through the whole season without a penalty,” Laudrup said. “During the week, one day he had a couple of incredible misses in training and I told him he had to switch his boots, to put the right one on the left and the left on the right. He did that today and he scored two goals with both feet.”
Bradford’s defeat was the heaviest in a League Cup final after they became the first side from the fourth tier of English football to reach a major final since 1962.
Manager Phil Parkinson admitted he wished they had been able to make a game of it. “The highlight of the day for me was the way the fans stayed behind the team right throughout the game,” he said. “Everybody realised what an enormous achievement this has been for a club from the fourth tier.”
“Of course, I’d have loved to have been sat here talking about a great performance and a great game but what Swansea did to us today, they’ve done to Premier League teams.”
Bradford City manger Parkinson took issue with referee Kevin Friend’s decision to send off goalkeeper Matt Duke when the score was 3-0. “With the greatest respect, I don’t think at that stage we’re going to come back to win 5-4,” he joked.
Parkinson said he would sit down and discuss his own future this week, describing the money Bradford made from their cup run as being “beyond our wildest dreams”. But the day belonged to Laudrup, who made it three wins from his three visits to Wembley as a player and manager.
“I like this place,” he said. “Could we play some more games here?”