Thursday 21 November 2019

Fabregas finds time to praise Laudrup's stylish Swans

SWANSEA 3 WEST HAM 0 Henry Winter

One of Swansea City's new arrivals impressing in training will never get a game. It is Michael Laudrup, the 48-year-old manager and a European Cup winner 20 years ago. "Even when he joins in training you can see he's a couple of steps ahead of most people,'' said Swansea winger Wayne Routledge.

Routledge knows all about the former Barcelona, Real Madrid and Denmark attacking midfielder. "I didn't need to YouTube him,'' added Routledge. "I used to watch his games when I was growing up."

There is an excitement in the Swansea ranks at being managed by such a celebrated footballing figure. Routledge was particularly delighted when he and Nathan Dyer were described as like "poison for defenders" by Laudrup. "It's a big compliment coming from him,'' said Routledge.

It helped Routledge and company that West Ham's defence was so toxic. The visitors were poor, lacking resistance when Swansea attacked through Routledge and Dyer, the scheming Spaniard Michu and the raiding full-backs Neil Taylor and Angel Rangel.

purpose

Swansea played more triangles than a school orchestra, including one 44-pass move, but there was always a purpose, always a sense of urgency. "I love the way Swansea play. respect,'' tweeted Cesc Fabregas, tuning in from Barcelona.

Routledge was arguably Man of the Match, cutting in from the flank, working closely with Michu and Danny Graham. Routledge's re-emergence is well-timed with Scott Sinclair heading to Manchester City.

Although some of last season's Swans are flying the nest, others wing in. Ki Sung-yueng, brought in from Celtic for £6m, outplayed the Liverpool-bound Joe Allen when South Korea defeated Team GB in Cardiff.

"He is a dynamic midfielder,'' said Laudrup. "It also gives us more competition, depth.'' Laudrup had encouraged his wide players to tuck in, helping stifle Mark Noble in the centre.

"They started with four midfield players, so we had to have our wide players inside so we had five,'' Laudrup said. "That leaves our full-backs to go."

They certainly went, the right-back Rangel scoring the first after a slick 20th-minute build-up involving Ashley Williams, Michu and Dyer. Jussi Jaaskelainen's handling error also helped.

Nine minutes later, another West Ham mistake gifted Swansea their second. James Collins underhit a back-pass, Michu was alert and the ball was duly flicked low past Jaaskelainen. Routledge dinked the ball over for Graham to make it 3-0. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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