sport

Cup fever can wait - Laudrup

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup does not expect there to be a cup hangover when his side face Sunderland on Tuesday night.

The Swans will be in action for the first time since securing a place in their first major cup final, having dumped European champions Chelsea out at the semi-final stage of the Capital One Cup last week.

There is tangible excitement in the city ahead of next month's trip to face npower League Two side Bradford in the final at Wembley, but Laudrup knows his side cannot afford to get too far ahead of themselves as they face a Black Cats side who have won four of their last six league games.

But the Dane believes previous performances this season have shown his side will not be distracted by talk of Wembley.

"I think when we come closer to the final we will notice some cup fever," he said.

"But we may play Liverpool the week before the final as they are out of the FA Cup, so we may play on that free weekend which means we will have four league games before the final.

"Three of them will be away, against Sunderland, West Ham and Liverpool, with QPR at home.

"They are important games for us, and I don't expect to see a reaction from the team as they have shown me after great performances they can keep it up for the next game.

"The best example is the week when we won at Stamford Bridge on the Wednesday and on Saturday we went to get a great point at Everton in a very difficult game, so I hope to see the same kind of performance tomorrow.

"It does not mean we will get a result, as they need the three points but if we keep that level everything is possible for us and we have always said survival is the priority and we still need some points to be sure of that."

Swansea's 2-0 aggregate win over Chelsea has been overshadowed by the furore of Eden Hazard's red card after the midfielder appeared to kick ball boy Charlie Morgan, as the 17-year-old prevented the Belgian retrieving the ball.

Hazard has since been charged with violent conduct by the Football Association, meaning his automatic three-match ban for his dismissal could yet be extended.

But Laudrup believes the apologies exchanged between Hazard and Morgan after the game mean no further action is necessary, and feels the incident has been blown out of proportion.

He said: "There was a lot of talk about the ball boy. I went to Denmark for a couple of days and he was very famous and in the national news on television.

"There was a lot of spotlight there but we have to go on and carry on.

"Things got a little out of proportion in the following days. There were mistakes on both parts, but obviously you cannot kick anyone.

"But I said after the game at the press conference that what happened showed he (Hazard) is a good boy, he said sorry just after the game.

"He has had his three-game ban and let's carry on and not go too much into it, it's in the past and that's that, let's move on.

"After the game (Chelsea) took the boy into the dressing room, they had (John) Terry, (Frank) Lampard and Hazard there and he said sorry, just after they lost a semi-final. That was very positive for me.

"If they can do that, the persons involved, then the rest of us can move on as well."

With the transfer window set to close on Thursday night, speculation continues to link striker Danny Graham with a move to Norwich or to Tuesday's opponents Sunderland.

Both clubs lodged bids earlier this month, but Laudrup currently expects there to be no arrivals or departures at the Liberty Stadium.

"I think maybe nothing will happen" he said. "There have been a lot of questions about Danny but I can only say Danny is here and we want him to stay and we don't want to change."

"He is here and if he comes to me and he wants to leave, and we have a very, very good offer, then we have to look into it, otherwise it could easily happen we will have the same squad on February 1 as we do now."