Swansea V Fulham at Liberty Stadium : Match Preview

27 January 2014 10:17
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Swans to treat games as cup final

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has told his side they must treat their game against Fulham like a cup final.

The Swans face the Cottagers at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday night looking to end a miserable run of eight Premier League games without a win, a sequence which has put them just three points above the relegation zone.

Five of Swansea's next six games come against sides with their own relegation concerns in the form of Fulham, West Ham, Cardiff, Stoke and Crystal Palace, and Laudrup knows the outcome of those fixtures could go a long way to deciding the south Wales' club's fate.

Which is why he has demanded his players view them as being as crucial as a knockout game.

"The most simple thing we can do in these league games is go into them as if they were the last one - a final for us," he said.

"This is the way we have to go into it and hopefully our wins in the FA Cup against Manchester United and Birmingham can give us something.

"Birmingham was a win where we really had to suffer, and we may need a win in a league which comes in a similar fashion, where we are suffering a lot.

"But that's the way you come back on track. We've seen that from other teams as well who are not really playing nice football.

"They are not doing it on purpose but maybe in that moment it is not working for them.

"But you come back and find that extra, we may have to do that."

However, Laudrup is under no illusions that Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen and his other peers will have similar plans when it comes to their clashes with the Swans.

"If you ask Meuelensteen I think he would say 'I knew it would be difficult against Arsenal at the Emirates but now the next league game we have Swansea away'.

"I think Sam Allardyce would say the same, 'Hey, we may lose to Chelsea on Tuesday but on Saturday we have to beat Swansea at home'.

"We all know that, let's not fool ourselves about where we are.

"We know we have to have points against these five direct opponents and win some games, but our opponents will think the same."

Laudrup should at least be boosted by the return of a few more of his injured contingent, with Jonathan de Guzman, Nathan Dyer and Jonjo Shelvey available.

Fulham's focus returns to the battle for Premier League survival on Tuesday night at Swansea, who Meulensteen's men would overtake with victory.

He said: "We know it's a massively important game for us. If we could pick up three points it would be very, very big for us."

Swansea have slipped down the table and are winless in eight games, with their slump coming as a surprise to the Fulham boss.

He said: "Over the years I have had a lot of respect for Swansea, for the way they have established themselves in the Premier League after coming up through the leagues.

"They have changed managers but they have kept a similar style of play. That style of play resulted in a trophy last year, getting into Europe but now you start to see a little bit of the price they have to pay for it.

"Maybe injuries have played a part. Suddenly the results that were normally going for you last year are going against you and that is why they find themselves in the position they are in."

Source: PA

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