sport

Laudrup: Delay no excuse

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup insists his side's heavily disrupted journey to Switzerland for their final Europa League Group A fixture with St Gallen will be no excuse if they fail to secure a place in the knockout stages.

The Welsh club were due to fly from Cardiff Airport at 10am on Wednesday, but fog and a technical fault with their plane ensured they did not leave until 5pm.

It meant the Swans did not land in Zurich until 8pm before going on to St Gallen by coach, scuppering any hopes of training at the AFG Arena ahead of Thursday's game.

Swansea will guarantee a spot in the last 32 if they avoid defeat in Switzerland, while a loss could still see them advance if Kuban Krasnodar do not claim three points at group winners Valencia and overturn a goal difference deficit of three.

"Of course, it's not ideal but let's not make it more dramatic than it is," said Laudrup, who had travelled separately and was not delayed.

"It's a very long day for the players and the staff, 12 hours from when they started in Swansea to Zurich.

"It should have been less than half that. The players could have had a rest and then we would have trained and had dinner but they will come, we will have something to eat, and try and get a good night's sleep.

"The game is at 7pm so there will be a whole day to prepare for it.

"It's the last game in the group stage and we have to finish the job to move on to the next stage where we want to play in a couple of months' time in the last 32. We have to do the job."

St Gallen have nothing to play for as defeat to Kuban in their last European fixture ensured they cannot reach the knockout stages.

But similarly Valencia have already secured top billing, and Laudrup believes that means Swansea cannot count on a favour from the Spanish club.

He said: "I think we have to do the job ourselves. It's true that if Kuban lose or draw we can go through with a loss.

"But Valencia are already top of the group and are playing Atletico Madrid away on Sunday, which is the top team in Spain, along with Barcelona, right now.

"They know it will be a tough game so I think being already top and having that game in mind in three days time, I don't think they will play many players tomorrow who will play on Sunday.

"So I think Kuban have a good chance of winning the game tomorrow which means we have to do it ourselves."