Swansea City appear to be making the most of their first taste of European action, as their Europa League campaign continued with a 1-0 win over Saint Gallen on Thursday Night.
Being a club that is only in their third Premier League season, it would perhaps be understandable to have a few fears that the Europa League’s added fixtures would interfere with their domestic ambitions and progression. But with all credit to manager Michael Laudrup, they seem to have a desire to make this European opportunity into an adventure.
Laudrup has so far selected his line-ups to mostly include players who would easily play at the weekends, in the priority, the Premier League. So many managers, especially with English clubs, have over the years degraded the Europa League and instead, taken the rather boring option of playing weakened sides. But Laudrup’s ambition with his own managerial career and the club clearly involves the Europa League. Not only are his line-ups looking strong, but it seems that he seriously wants Swansea to get these games wrapped up as soon as possible. He doesn’t want them to slip, or put in mediocre performance. In the St. Gallen game, this was obvious via his body language and persistent frustration if something went wrong.
He wants to succeed. The Europa League provides Laudrup with an opportunity to showcase himself to the top European clubs, as he did by winning the Capital One Cup last season — another example of Laudrup taking a respectful stance on these less impressive competitions.
On a night, which was probably their toughest test in terms of their opponents’ performance, the individual efforts from Swansea conveyed just what I’m going on about. From the drive of Álex Pozuelo and the experience of Leon Britton, it was personally obvious that they’re all hungry for a special season and to make the most of the chance of Europe.
Their main man, Michu, went through five different Swansea home shirts during the 90 minutes as his head leaked blood, but he seemed so up for it. His mentality to make St. Gallen pay was something that ran through the Swansea side and they can be proud of such a hard earned win.
For the Swiss side, the oldest club in continental Europe, they did themselves proud. But they were overall overpowered by an ambitious Swansea team.