Swansea City-Southampton Preview
LONDON (SE) - Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup has warned his side against complacency when they travel to St Mary's to face bottom club Southampton on Saturday.
After encouraging performances in a 3-1 League Cup victory over Liverpool and 1-1 Premier League draw with Chelsea last time out, Laudrup wants to ensure his side take nothing for granted against the Saints.
"The points on Saturday are far more important than they were against Chelsea," he said. "My players know it's a big game. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to realise that the bottom three teams really need points. If they don't then the gap will become even wider.
"Southampton really need points, as do QPR and Reading, so we know what to expect. It's an away game, they will want to put us under pressure and if we are not at the level that we have been recently, then we will have big problems. We have to make sure we are at our best - both with and without the ball.
"They have scored a lot, but also conceded some goals. I saw them play a couple of times at the beginning of the season and they deserved more points than they got, particularly against Manchester United at home when they lost 3-2.
"We want to win the game on Saturday, but they need to win. However, we know that it will be a completely different game. I think it's easier to play the big teams. They will often give you more time and space on the ball, but when they have it there is a lot more quality. When you come up against other teams you can sometimes lose your focus and that is where I come in to make sure the players maintain the standards that we have displayed in recent weeks."
Saints (1-1-8) boss Nigel Adkins is hoping a change in his side's routine will help to jump start their season after a return of one win in their first ten matches, which represents their worst start to a campaign since 1993-94.
"We've got players coming back to fitness and we're going to take the guys away for a couple of days in preparation," Adkins said. "We'll change things around a little bit and change the stimulus, which I think is important because it can become a bit of a 'Groundhog Day'.
"We've reached ten games and we were always going to look to have a break by changing the environment and the mindset so we are focused for the next game. I think it's good to change the routine, and take that into this weekend's important game.
"We've got to start getting points on the board and having the winning mentality that we've had for the last few years at the football club. We've just had ten games, so we've assessed where we are and accepted the situation. We'll keep moving forward. We can't do anything to affect the ten games we've had previously so we've put them to bed now. We'll move on and look forward to the next ones with positivity and a steely resolve.
"We've had to assess and address our aspirations at the start of the campaign. We're in a relegation dogfight, and we're fighting - everyone is well aware of that."
Adkins has no new injury concerns following Monday night's 2-0 loss at West Brom and has Artur Boruc available for selection again after the conclusion of an internal club investigation of the goalkeeper over an alleged bottle throwing incident.
This will be the first meeting between the sides since 2008-09, when Swansea (3-3-4) took 4 points in the Championship. Following a 2-2 at St Mary's, the Swans won 3-0 at home. Swansea have not won any of their last 8 trips to Southampton, last taking all three points in a 4-1 win at The Dell in March 1953.