Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup has talked up the value of the League Cup ahead of his team’s quarter-final against Middlesbrough.
Premier League side Swansea host Championship promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough in the last eight of England’s secondary cup competition on Wednesday.
Despite the somewhat low importance given to the competition in the modern era, Laudrup feels the League Cup can afford his team a rare opportunity to capture silverware.
“I’ve always liked cups because when you’re in a team that can’t compete for the Champions League or title, it’s a way to success,” Laudrup said.
“It’s a potential semi-final we’re talking about. We’re into the dreams of playing a final at Wembley and we have to do everything to get there.”
Laudrup has experience of guiding mid-table teams to the latter stages of knockout competitions; the Danish coach took Getafe to the final of the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 2008.
“It was a fantastic year, though obviously we had to keep our eyes on the league and you have to manage that, that’s the difficult part,” he said.
“That’s something we could have to manage in January, but there is the possibility to maybe go and play in a final and win a trophy.
“When you are a smaller club when do you ever get the chance to play for a trophy?
“Being in mid-table or avoiding relegation is great, but it is a special feeling to win a trophy and we can do it with a cup.
“I have been to Wembley as a player, and been to finals as a manager and it’s special.”
Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray agreed to some extent with Laudrup’s sentiments, but said his focus remains firmly on orchestrating a return to the Premier League for the team from the Riverside Stadium.
“Whilst it’s nice to have a run in a cup competition, get the plaudits and potentially get to a semi-final, televised games and heighten the profile of your club, the bottom line come May is, if you don’t finish in the top two or the top six, giving yourselves a chance, it’s a wasted season,” he said.
“For the club, the ambition we have got is to try to get back there as quickly as we can.”