Michael Laudrup admits surprise at Swansea's defensive solidity

Swans take on Arsenal tonight

Swansea face Arsenal in the FA Cup tonight with manager Michael Laudrup admitting his surprise at the defensive solidity that has underpinned the club's success on the road this season.

Laudrup arrived at the Liberty Stadium in the summer with a reputation for producing sides who played attractive, attacking football and scored plenty of goals, but were also liable to concede at the other end.

The Swans are unquestionably a greater attacking threat this term, mainly thanks to the goalscoring heroics of Michu, but their excellent run of just two defeats in 17 games has been based upon a solid defensive foundation.

Ashley Williams, Chico Flores and young Ben Davies have excelled as part of the back four, with Angel Rangel, Garry Monk and Dwight Tiendalli also making notable contributions.

Such has been the level of performance, Swansea have conceded just 11 goals in nine games away from home in the league this season, which along with Arsenal is the joint-lowest total in the top flight.

Having triumphed 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season, Laudrup knows more of the defending seen on that occasion, and in keeping clean sheets at Chelsea and Everton, will be required tonight to secure safe passage through to a fourth-round meeting at Brighton.

He said: "We have shown throughout the season, but particularly in the last two games, how solid we are. I have even been a bit surprised by how solid we have looked defending deep.

"I always try to say not to defend so deep. Against Chelsea it is one thing as they don't play many balls into the box, but Everton do with a lot of big guys up there and we did great and and that is really good to see.

"In 11 away games we have only conceded nine goals which is quite good for a manager who always played up front.

"But the players know if they are a little relaxed against the big teams you can get hurt really bad."

Tonight's third-round replay has added to an already hectic month for the Swans, with the Capital One Cup semi-final with Chelsea also increasing their workload.

But Laudrup is adamant the congestion does not put the FA Cup at the bottom of his list of priorities.

He said: "The 11 or 14 who play will do everything to win and Arsenal are the same.

"I cannot tell the players who go out 'just play at 50 per cent because we don't really care about winning this game', you cannot do that.

"In the first game in this tie, we were up and then we were down.

"We could have won the game and lost the game but we fought and got a draw in the end and it shows that the 11 who go on the pitch will give their all."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy