Michael Laudrup plays down speculation he will replace Jose Mourinho as Real Madrid manager

Everton 0 Swansea City 0

Michael Laudrup has shrugged off suggestions that he could be the man to replace Jose Mourinho should the Portuguese's contact with Real Madrid be terminated in the summer.

That prospect looks increasingly likely after a goalless draw with relegation-threatened Osasuna left the Spanish champions 18 points off the lead in La Liga when Barcelona won 3-1 at Malaga last night. In contrast, Laudrup was celebrating "a great week for Swansea" – a 2-2 draw with Arsenal in the FA Cup, victory at Chelsea in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final and Saturday's goalless draw at Everton.

A poll in the Spanish sports paper Marca put the Swansea manager third behind Rafa Benitez and the Germany coach Joachim Löw to succeed Mourinho.

"It is always nice when someone talks well about you but you have to remember I played there and have a lot of friends there," said Laudrup, who won the Spanish title with Real Madrid in 1995.

Laudrup has had two spells managing in La Liga, but said it would be hard to return to Spain because he enjoyed far more freedom as a Premier League manager. "Over here a manager has a lot more influence over who is coming in and who is going out," he said. "In Spain, you have people deciding on your players from behind a desk."

Everton have only lost two matches since October but their manager, David Moyes, recognised that this was a game they should have won to keep their drive for the Champions League on course. "We have played well enough to be aiming for third place," said Moyes.

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