Alex Bonner examines the reasons behind the recent sacking of Swansea City manger Michael Laudrup.
The news that Michael Laudrup, following Swansea’s 2–0 loss to West Ham last Saturday, has been relieved of his duties as manager at Swansea City marks a new low in a period of decline for the Danish manager.
Swansea’s decision to sack Laudrup just prior to facing Welsh rivals Cardiff has ensured the fixture this weekend will be an even bigger game than previously anticipated. Laudrup, who last season guided Swansea to victory in the Capital One Cup, will likely feel aggrieved at the Chairman’s decision, with the Dane now pursuing legal action as a means of acquiring the reasoning behind the decision of Hew Jenkins to dispense of his services.
The Swans are currently lying 12th in the Premier League table, meaning the decision to part with the Dane, on the surface at least, seems strange considering the close nature of the Premier League this season. Following Swansea’s magnificent 2012-13 campaign, the loss of Laudrup as manager will likely impact the attitude held by a considerable proportion of the Swansea fan base towards the club’s hierarchy.
Swansea are through to the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they face Everton, and are also in the last 32 of the Europa League, Italian side Napoli their next opponents – signifying that the Swans, up to the point of Laudrup’s sacking, had excelled in other footballing competitions other than the Premier League.
Under previous manager Brendan Rodgers, and then Laudrup, Swansea have had two excellent seasons in the Premier League, with the two notable achievements being finishing ninth in the league and winning the League Cup last year. This means that the Swansea fan base will likely demand immediate success from incoming managers Garry Monk and Alan Curtis.
Swansea’s recent form in the Premier League has certainly alarmed media and fans alike, which undoubtedly gave additional momentum to the club’s chairman to take the decision to ditch Laudrup. Since winning the Capital One Cup trophy 12 months ago, Swansea have only won eight of 35 Premier League games, losing 18, a worrying run of form for the Welsh outfit.
If continued, such lacklustre form would almost certainly lead to Swansea’s eventual relegation, a state of affairs which will have weakened Laudrup’s standing within the club’s hierarchy. The Dane now leaves a side just two points away from the bottom three.
After their immense success last season, it is surprising that Swansea now find themselves in such a precarious position with relegation now seemingly a real possibility for the club. Swansea, with a difficult run of fixtures yet to come, will do well to avoid the pitfall that is relegation from the Premier League.
The Loss of Michu has certainly played a large part in Swansea’s poor form of late, the Spaniard contributing significantly to the success of last season’s campaign. The 27-year-old was immense in his first season, and by early February had already scored 15 times in the league, with Swansea collecting 34 points from their first 24 games which saw them comfortably positioned in mid-table.
Run–ins with injuries have prevented Michu from retaining this form, as knee and ankle injuries have restricted him to just 12 Premier League appearances. With the loss of Michu, Swansea have certainly lost potency and ruthlessness up front, meaning they have become too predictable to play against of late, Wilfred Bony continuously relied upon as a lone striker.
Laudrup will unquestionably feel aggrieved at the loss of his star player from last season, as this has undoubtedly contributed to the Dane’s departure from Swansea; in many ways, Laudrup can be seen as a victim of his own success. He leaves a Swansea side that are in mid-table and still in the FA Cup and Europa League, meaning his performances this season as a manager should still be praised.
However, winning the League Cup last season, which was followed by the £12 million acquisition of Bony, was only likely to raise expectations significantly this season amongst fans, the boardroom and the media. All of this meant that Swansea’s recent run of form was always likely to result in the inevitable departure of Laudrup.bookmark me