Swansea City Continue Preseason Preparations with 2 Friendlies This Week
Two home friendlies await Swansea City this week as they continue preparations for the rapidly approaching Premier League season.
Blackpool, who last featured in the Premiership during the 2010-11 season, journey across the Welsh border to meet Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday before Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart arrive on Saturday to finish off the Swans' preseason preparations.
Michael Laudrup, named former manager Brendan Rodgers' successor on his birthday (June 15), told the club's official website he relishes the opportunities provided by this last batch of friendlies.
"The games against Blackpool and Stuttgart will give us a chance to come up against the quality that we will expect in the Premier League in terms of competitiveness," Laudrup said.
"Our home form is crucial and we have to be strong here because that is where we need to get the most points this season.
Even though they are only friendlies, football is all about winning so it is important that we put everything into it."
These latest two games bring Swansea's preseason fixture list to a grand total of five—they played three games during a July tour of the western portions of the United States.
As Laudrup looks to incorporate some of his new signings (Michu, Chico and on-loan Jonathan de Guzman) into a side that surprised everyone on its way to an 11th-place league finish last season, he appreciates the opportunity to get to know his new players better ahead of the fury of a league campaign.
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Laudrup says that he has one or two additional signings in mind ahead of Swansea's trip to Loftus Road to take on Queens Park Rangers—who were promoted alongside the Welsh outfit in 2011-12—on August 18.
Until then, he'll continue to take stock of the side currently available to him—he's said before that he wants no more than 23 players on the first-team roster, preferring that number and the increased competition it fosters among players keen on cracking the match-day list of 18.
The current standard for the Premier League is 25 players, but Laudrup believes that bloated number is a quick ticket toward disillusionment.
The manager believes that his reduced squad will have the effect of making training sessions much more intense and, therefore, beneficial to his side, allowing the entire team to participate in the same routine as opposed to a number of extraneous players being forced to engage in some other activity.
Olympic Trio Returns to the Fold
Scott Sinclair, Joe Allen and Neil Taylor returned to the club on Sunday after seeing their Olympic run with Team Great Britain come to a heartbreaking end.
All three played a part as Great Britain were knocked out of the quarterfinals, losing 5-4 on penalties to South Korea on Saturday (the match ended 1-1 in regular time).
Rumors linking Allen with a move to Liverpool have steadily built throughout the past month, and Laudrup has said, according to ESPN Soccernet, that he will not stand in the way of the 22-year-old midfielder if Allen desires a move away. Laudrup does wish to speak to Allen beforehand, however.
The former Danish international has said that Taylor and Sinclair will both feature against Stuttgart on Saturday after using the rest of this week to filter back into the club fold through training.
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