Swansea boss Michael Laudrup: Management is tough

Michael Laudrup has seemingly coped well with the pressure this season. Photo: PA

Michael Laudrup does not believe the stresses he endured in his playing days come close to comparing with those he has to deal with on a daily basis as a manager.

In his pomp, the Dane was one of the best of his generation.

Laudrup won league titles at Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Ajax, in addition to the Confederations Cup with Denmark in 1995.

Yet it seems the demands of a top-level career on the pitch are minimal to those he has experienced off it.

Although his reputation is blossoming, he lasted only seven months at Spartak Moscow, and left Mallorca after a fall-out with the club's director of football.

So, whilst more productive spells at Brondby, Getafe and, last season, Swansea, have led to Laudrup becoming one of the most sought-after coaches in Europe, the suggestion life is a breeze just brings a wry smile.

"It is much more difficult to be a manager than a player," he said.

"The two jobs are obviously completely different. As a footballer you are one of 25. As a manager you are on your own.

"You do have the group to work with, but in the end, you are alone.

"You have to take the decisions and be responsible for everything."

At Swansea that means having the final say on transfers, which this summer look certain to include deciding whether Ashley Williams will be allowed to leave amid apparent interest from Arsenal.

It is a brutal fact of life for clubs of Swansea's size that they are always at risk of losing key men to wealthier rivals.

The balancing act is always whether the sale of a star player can help fund an overall strengthening of a squad to make it more durable and able to cope with the strains of life in the world's most lucrative league.

And for Laudrup this remains the truth despite steering Swansea to the calm waters of ninth in the table, their highest finish since 1982, in addition to the glory of winning the Capital One Cup and in the process securing a place in next season's Europa League.

"Unless we find a couple of hundred million pounds I think last season we achieved nearly the maximum we can in terms of the table," he said.

"There are always things you can improve but there are not many higher positions we can look at.

"Even consolidating is going to be very difficult.

"Some of the teams below us this season will invest heavily; West Ham, Newcastle, Aston Villa.

"They are huge clubs who want to take the place where we are right now."