Michael Laudrup looks confidently towards Europa League campaign as Swansea prepare to take on Malmo

Swedish club visit the Liberty Stadium on Thursday in first leg of the third knockout round in a tournament that Laudrup has hailed as 'special'

Michael Laudrup is looking ahead to Swansea’s Europa League campaign in a confident mood after claiming they will overcome any rustiness when they meet Malmo on Thursday night.

The third qualifying round first-leg at the Liberty Stadium will mark Swansea’s return to European competition after 22 years away from the spotlight having appeared in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1991.

On that occasion, they were thumped 10-1 on aggregate by a star-studded Monaco side, but Laudrup is far more hopeful this time around after they qualified for the tournament through their Capital One Cup success.

"Of course it is special," said the Dane, who experienced European success during his playing career with Barcelona as they won the European Cup for the first time in 1992.

"Suddenly as a player and a manager you are against sides you are not used to facing. In the league you play and you go on and on, here you have two games and one team will go out.

"The only time we tried it last season was the fantastic semi-final against Chelsea in the cup.

"But even with the cups here in the UK it is usually one game, here it is two legs and even in the first game you have to think ahead. It is very different."

Malmo are no slouches though, having dispatched Scottish Premier League side Hibernian 9-0 in the second round.

The Swedish club also have the advantage of being well into the league campaign, having already played 17 matches in the Allsvenskan. They currently sit second in the league table, and they actually won the second tier of European football back in 1979.

But Laudrup is confident his side have both the quality and fitness to handle the visitors, but has stressed the importance of away goals by not conceding on home soil.

"They are a good side but it always difficult to compare them with us,” explained Laudrup.

"The Allsvenskan is not the Premier League, but they are 17 games, plus a couple of European fixtures, into their season, whereas we are just starting.

"They have played a lot of games with the same 12-13 players; we have new ones coming in.

"If this game were played in three months’ time we would be favourites; now I think it is much more even."

He added: "Perhaps at the end of the game there could be some rustiness.

"But if you look at the three pre-season games, we have done well.

"Against Reading last weekend we were 3-0 up with 20 minutes to go.

"Maybe in the last 15 minutes there could be something but I think the players will be just fine.

"We want to win but we know it's important not to concede as away goals are so important in this competition."

Laudrup looks set to be without central defender Chico Flores, who has failed to recover from a thigh injury, so Jordi Amat is set to deputise alongside Ashley Williams and make his Swansea debut, with fellow summer recruit Wilfried Bony also in line to make his bow.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain