The 5-0 win over Bradford City was the biggest margin of victory in the final of the League Cup. The margin was a reflection of the vast superiority of the Welsh side, who treated the occasion with the respect it deserved. Arsenal, Aston Villa and Wigan have all paid the price for not taking seriously, or not understanding, the threat posed by the League Two outfit. Swansea certainly did.
They passed the ball around with ease from the start, easing the nerves and pressing Bradford’s in. By denying the minnows the ball for so long at the start of the match, Swansea made their opponents more nervous. Their slick movement and passing resulted in a deserved final win, although Bradford deserve intense credit for their showing in the tournament.
Laudrup has done something that some of his peers have failed to do for years. Manager after manager has failed to win trophies at established Premier League teams like Sunderland, Newcastle and Fulham. A team like Stoke has played the most dire, unambitious football, and been shown up by this team, in the top flight for less than two years so far. Even one of the most respected teams and managers in the league, Everton, have continually failed to add to their trophy collection.
So Laudrup deserves immense credit for the achievement of making Swansea winners of the Capital One Cup, This was no fluke win, or one achieved through luck of the draw. The Swans had to play away to Liverpool, and faced off with the European champions Chelsea in the semi finals over two legs. They were much the better team in all of those three games.
The Swansea coach is now likely to be lured elsewhere. The club hope to keep him in place for another season at least if possible, and the lure of taking the Welsh side into Europe could help persuade him to do just that. And Laudrup is experienced enough to know of the trials that lie elsewhere. He has experienced instability at other clubs, and knows that he is relatively lucky at Swansea to be at such a well run, organised and sensible club.
But a manager who is so classy off the pitch, as well as so impressive in his style on it, will draw admirers. Teams like Chelsea and Manchester City are looking for new coaches at the end of the season, and the Dane is also the kind of person who would attract admiring glances from teams like Arsenal or Manchester United. Real Madrid are apparently keeping an eye oh him too, and given his reputation and history there, and the fans’ support for his candidature, he seems an ideal contender to take over at the end of the season. Whatever happens, Laudrup has already left his mark on this great Welsh club, and in less than a full season as well.