Quick links


Swansea City

Eden Hazard red card finished Chelsea off – Swansea's Michael Laudrup

Michael Laudrup believes Chelsea lost all belief after Eden Hazard's red card that left the player issuing a public apology and Swansea looking forward to their first cup final.

Laudrup described it as a "small fairytale" and also revealed that he had already watched Bradford City, their opponents at Wembley on 24 February. "I've seen them four or five times and what they have done is amazing," he said. "Thankfully we have a month now to enjoy it. It's not often in football this happens. Now we're there … the players, staff, fans will need a couple of days to understand we are actually there. It's absolutely fantastic. To have beaten the European champions over two games, it's really incredible, and without conceding a goal."

Hazard's sending-off was the moment, Laudrup said, when he knew his team would hold on to their two-goal advantage. "They lost the belief they could do it after the red card. You could see when he was sent off that they were finished. After the red card, I saw the reaction from both teams and knew that was it," he said.

Laudrup was asked whether he was surprised Chelsea had not been more forceful in their attempts to retrieve the damage that had been inflicted at Stamford Bridge.

"There have been times in the two games when they [Chelsea] have dominated but that's what you expect players of that level to do. But what gave me belief was our start. Our major concern was how the players would be going into the game, when you've got one foot in the final, you're so close and yet so far away.

"In my mind it was about how our players reacted to being in that situation. Then I saw the first 10 minutes when Wayne Routledge had a shot blocked and there was a one on one with Michu. We didn't score but we started well. I thought we could do it then.

"We knew before the game there would be moments when we were in control and others when we were a bit too deep and they put us under pressure. Those were the moments we had to survive. They had some shots from distance - and players like [Frank] Lampard and Ramires are good from distance. They had some good chances early in the first game, and today was more or less the same. They [Chelsea] knew they had to score two goals, but they knew as well that if they pushed too far forward we could score on the break. Everybody here knew it would be so difficult, even at 2-0 up."

Swansea will go into the final as the overwhelming favourites despite Bradford, 10th in League Two, having eliminated Aston Villa, Arsenal and Wigan Athletic. "We will do our work on Bradford and we can't take them for granted," Ashley Williams, the Swansea captain, said.

"They have beaten three Premier League teams this season. But we're going to Wembley, which is what we all dreamt of as little boys. We kept to the game plan brilliantly."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Daniel Taylor at Liberty Stadium, for The Guardian on Thursday 24th January 2013 00.47 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © joncandy

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch