sport

Laudrup: Napoli draw a reward

Michael Laudrup believes Swansea's mouth-watering Europa League last-32 clash against Napoli is reward for his side's hard work during the group stages.

The Dane admitted the draw could have been kinder with the Italians having gone out of the Champions League despite beating Arsenal last week.

Laudrup told the club website: "It is probably the hardest tie we could have had.

"I said before the draw that I felt Napoli and Juventus were the best teams in the competition, but I also said that my players and our fans deserved a big club.

"The squad has already played 27 games so far this season, which has not been easy, while the fans have given fantastic support throughout.

"Over 1,000 fans travelled to St Gallen last week which is amazing and says everything about the supporters at this club.

"Napoli is certainly a big club; with a very good team and a top manager. They won all their home games in the Champions League and for a club to fail to qualify after picking up 12 points is unheard of.

"It is certainly a tie for everyone to look forward to. It will be a great experience for the team, the club, the fans and the city."

The Swans host the first leg at the Liberty Stadium on February 20, with the return against Rafa Benitez's men taking place at Stadio San Paolo on February 27. The winners will then face either Porto or Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals.