Michael Laudrup claims his refusal to change his backroom staff, following a poor sequence of results, led to his surprise departure from Swansea City.
The former Denmark international was appointed as the Swans head coach following Brendan Rodgers’ departure to Liverpool in the summer of 2012, and he enjoyed a fine debut season at the Liberty Stadium. Not only did he lead them to a ninth place finish in the Premier League, but he also delivered a first even major trophy when they won the Carling Cup in February.
However, the Welsh side were unable to build on this form, but it was still a surprise when Laudrup was sacked earlier this month despite a run of six defeats in eight matches. The 49-year-old has now revealed that his refusal to change his backroom staff, including assistant Morten Wieghorst, fitness coach Oscar Garcia and scout Erik Larsen, was the reason he was shown the door.
“We had a fantastic first season, best season ever with a trophy and ninth place in the league, and it was sad not to have been given the chance to finish the job I had started,” Laudrup, speaking at an event at Heathrow Airport, said. “But during last summer I saw a lot starting to appear in the press, maybe even more in my native country than here, and about problems with the chairman and my agent Byram Tutumlu. At a certain point the connection working between them stopped because of problems with the two of them. I was caught in the middle so I had to have an opinion about it.
“But it didn’t really change anything for me. Byram is my agent, has been for a long time, I trust him and he will keep on being that, but it did not change my relationship with the club. Before I left at the end of last season I gave my word to the players and fans that I would stay but in mid-January I was told they were not satisfied with my staff…I mean the manager, the whole coaching staff.
“We spoke about it. I listened but didn’t agree with what was being said, and then I got another message telling me I should ‘really, really consider changing the staff…more than consider. I told them we had already spoken about this and we agreed to meet the following Tuesday, when again we discussed changing the staff. Once again I said we had talked about that and it was a big mistake speaking of it the week before two big games with Cardiff (City) and Stoke (City).
“Next thing, and what surprised me, was that I had a meeting for Tuesday with the chairman but on the Monday all the things we discussed were in the papers. We ended up saying we have to stay together, we shook hands and he said ‘thank you very much for the work you are doing for the club and wanting to help the club’. But later that afternoon, while I was talking on the phone I received a mail telling me due to a breach of contract my employment was being terminated.”
What made the decision all the more baffling was that just 24 hours before, Laudrup was given a vote of confidence from Huw Jenkins. However, the Swans chairman replaced the Dane with club captain Garry Monk on 4 February, with the 34-year-old being handed the job on a caretaker basis. Since then, they have collected four points from two matches, including a 3-0 win over rivals Cardiff City, but have crashed out of the FA Cup to Everton at the fifth round stage.