Michael Laudrup sacked: Manager pays price for 'apathy' at sliding Swansea City

The Dane had been under increasing pressure with the club winning just one of their last 10 Premier League matches

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Swansea have “parted company” with manager Michael Laudrup.

VLess than a year after Michael Laudrup led Swansea City to a first-ever major trophy, his reign as manager came to an abrupt end when the former Denmark international was sacked amid reports of “apathy” among his playing squad.

With Swansea having recorded just one win in their last 10 Premier League matches to leave them only two points clear of the relegation zone, Laudrup was informed of his fate following a meeting with the Swansea chairman, Huw Jenkins. He becomes the sixth Premier League manager this season to leave his post.

Club captain and veteran defender Garry Monk will take charge for Saturday’s  derby against arch-rivals Cardiff City and “for the foreseeable future”, with first-team coach Alan Curtis set to assist him for the crucial match at the Liberty Stadium.

Despite reports of strained relations with Swansea’s board since a dispute over transfer targets in the summer, news of Laudrup’s departure still came as a shock, given that Jenkins had on Monday dismissed reports he was considering making a change. Yet a statement released by the club explained the reasoning behind the decision to dispense with the 49-year-old, who is now expected to agree a compensation package.

“It is a decision we have taken reluctantly, but it’s a decision made in the best interests of Swansea City Football Club and our supporters,” said Jenkins.

“It is the first time in nearly 10 years that the club has parted with a manager in this way, but we had to remove the constant uncertainty surrounding the club and Michael’s long-term future with us. I had a meeting with Michael today in a final attempt to support him and establish a way to improve the work of the back-room team to secure the results we need over the final 14 Premier League games.

“However, after thinking long and hard about the best way forward, I felt it was unlikely we would achieve a stable environment at the club to allow us to get back to basics and produce the performance levels that have served Swansea City so well over the last few years. Now we need to put that uncertainty behind us and move forward as a united football club on all fronts.”

Laudrup signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract within weeks of the 5-0 victory in the Capital One Cup final over Bradford City at Wembley in February last year – a deal that included a £10m release clause. However, a poor end to the season and disputes over prospective transfer targets in the summer began to erode some of the Dane’s support at boardroom level.

Michael Laudrup led Swansea to Capital One Cup glory last season (Getty)

Despite reaching the last 32 of the Europa League and knocking Manchester United out of the FA Cup, a record of just eight Premier League victories and 18 defeats in Laudrup’s last 35 games at the helm has turned Swansea into unexpected relegation candidates. A training ground clash between Monk – who joined the club in 2004 when they were still playing in the fourth tier but has made just one appearance so far this season – and Chico Flores two weeks ago led to police being called after the Spanish defender allegedly threatened his team-mate with a brick.

That incident proved to be the beginning of the end for Laudrup, who has been accused by some board members of “taking his eye off the ball”, having been linked with the managerial vacancy at Tottenham earlier this season. With increased pressure to stay in the Premier League this season given the extra revenue from the new television deal, it was felt that they would be better served by parting company with the man who has previously managed Brondby, Getafe, Spartak Moscow and Real Mallorca.  

Swansea’s odds for relegation were immediately cut from 8-1 to 11-2, although sources close to the club admitted there are no immediate plans to find a successor beyond Monk. The 34-year-old had been tipped to be given a coaching role under Laudrup but, with the club having a history of handing unproven managers an opportunity, it is likely that Monk and Curtis will be given time to guide Swansea away from trouble.   

Laudrup, a former Real Madrid, Barcelona and Denmark midfielder, was appointed to succeed Brendan Rodgers in the summer of 2012 and took them to a ninth-placed finish last season. He almost left following a falling-out over his agent Bayram Tutumlu in June, but was eventually allowed to make eight permanent signings and take three players on loan.

Of those only Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony has been a real success and Laudrup had faced increased pressure from supporters following a lacklustre defeat to fellow strugglers West Ham on Saturday. Now, though, with Cardiff waiting to take advantage on Saturday, Jenkins faces the biggest test of his tenure.

“I hope all our supporters can fully understand how difficult this period has been for us and I would urge everyone connected to the football club to get behind Garry Monk, the staff and players,” he said.