Swansea fully support drug-testing... but the timing could be better
Welsh club unhappy as Wembley preparations disrupted by visit from doping controllers
Thursday 21 February 2013
The Capital One Cup finalists Swansea, playing in their first major cup final in their 101-year history against League Two side Bradford, have had their plans for Sunday's Wembley showpiece disrupted by drug-testers.
The Welsh club held their formal access for the world's press at the Liberty Stadium. But Swansea were unhappy at the timing of the visit from the drug controllers as half a dozen of their first-team regulars including Michu and Leon Britton were forced to give urine samples as the sport's drug-busters looked on, delaying their afternoon appearance to conduct media duties.
A Swansea official said: "The club fully supports the drug-testing procedure, but the timing could have been much better."
Yet the Swansea manager, Michael Laudrup, hopes his side have better timing on the pitch this weekend as the 48-year-old seeks to complete a Wembley hat-trick.
Laudrup tasted double glory at the home of English football during his illustrious playing career. He starred for Denmark to end the qualification hopes of Bobby Robson's England for the 1984 European Championship before lifting the European Cup with Barcelona against Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992, and now he admits he is on a mission to seal a personal treble.
Laudrup said: "I've had two very good days at the old Wembley. In 1983, we won 1-0 with small Denmark against huge England. Allan Simonsen scored a penalty and we qualified instead of England for the European Championships.
"Then in May 1992, in the last year before the European Cup changed it's title to the Champions League, we won 1-0 after extra-time against Sampdoria, who had Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Vialli in their side.
"I've had two huge results at Wembley so I hope Sunday will be the third for me, Laudrup added.
Victory for the red-hot favourites would seal a first major trophy for Swansea as well as a passage into the Europa League. It will also increase the rising managerial stock of Laudrup as chairman Huw Jenkins aims to agree a one-year extension to the 18 months remaining on his current contract. But the Dane insisted his future is on the backburner with the only focus on the final and overcoming Phil Parkinson's giantkillers.
Laudrup said: "My contract is not important and is secondary right now. We have three days before this game and everything has to be focused on it."
Swansea have ruled out Chico Flores following an ankle injury which could sideline him for up to eight weeks and Laudrup must now decide between club captain Garry Monk and 21-year-old Kyle Bartley to replace the Spanish centre-back. But the Swansea manager reckons the appetising rewards on offer will be enough to fire up his side come Sunday.
He said: "The tactic meeting on Sunday could last three minutes [rather than the normal 20 minutes]. I won't have to talk about motivation or what it means to the team, club, fans and city. I'll say the line-up then talk about what we have to do to move Bradford around and what we have to try and avoid."
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