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Five Aside: Di Maria a skillful crosser

Five Aside 16 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 24, 2013

Laudrup: Cup win is my career high

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup spoke of his pride after seeing his side thrash Bradford 5-0 to win the Capital One Cup at Wembley.

• Brewin at Wembley
• Blog: Swans secure trophy
• League and Cup gallery

Two goals each from Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman, one from the penalty spot, and another from Michu saw the Premier League side clinch the first major trophy in their 100-year history.

Laudrup told Sky Sports 1: "I'm very proud of my team today. I think it was a great performance.''

The 48-year-old Dane, who replaced Brendan Rodgers last summer, also hailed the triumph as the best of his managerial career.

He said: "As a manager it's absolutely at the top, winning a trophy for the first time in 100 years. The first trophy is always special, and now next year in Europe... it's a nice experience.''

Fourth-tier Bradford had enjoyed a fairytale journey to the final, including knocking out top-flight opposition in the form of Arsenal, Aston Villa and Wigan, and Laudrup felt getting the first goal would be crucial for his side.

He said: "They had never been behind against Premier League teams, so we had to move the ball at good pace and we have to score the first goal. And after getting second goal it was a little easier. I think we played a very good game and moved the ball around, I think we did great. When you are 3-0 up and with confidence like that you see the difference from a Premier League side and League Two but I have to say what Bradford have done this season is impressive, although it is also impressive what we have done.''

Laudrup later took the blame for the spat as he had not handed the reponsibility to a particular player before the game.

"There was no designated penalty taker. I forgot," he said.

"This was our 36th game of the season and it was our first penalty so it is my fault because I didn't say who was going to take it if we got one.

"I thought we would go through the whole season without getting one."

Swansea captain Ashley Williams, meanwhile, hailed the fulfilling of a lifetime ambition.

"This is what we all dreamed of as little boys. It's a dream come true winning the final at Wembley,'' he said. "We had a job to do and did it brilliantly. We knew there was a danger as they have beaten Premier League teams, but we had a job to do. The boys were really professional and we carried on playing all the way.''

Dyer opened the scoring in the 16th minute and the prolific Michu doubled Swansea's lead five minutes before half-time.

Dyer then notched his second two minutes into the second half to make it 3-0 and he was eyeing a record-breaking hat-trick in the 59th minute when Swansea were awarded a penalty.

However, De Guzman refused to stand down as penalty taker, much to Dyer's obvious anger as he unsuccessfully tried to persuade his team-mate to give him the opportunity to become the first man in history to score a hat-trick in a League Cup final.

Of that incident, Dyer said: "To score a hat-trick in an historic moment like this... I thought I should have got the ball, but it wasn't meant to be, and I passed it on and that's the way it went.''

Dyer added of the win: "Swansea have come so far as a club and a city. For us to win this cup final is massive for us, the player have worked so hard all week, and it's just a great day.''

Bradford manager Phil Parkinson hailed his players for their success in this year's competition and only wished they could have made more of a match of the final for their supporters, who he described as "absolutely tremendous''.

He said: "We would love to have made more of a game of it. Conceding the goals when we did made it really difficult for ourselves. But Swans are a very good side and what they have done to us today they have done to Premiership teams. We're many places below them in the Football League and it was tough for us today but enormous credit to our boys for getting to the final, it was an incredible achievement. We would have loved to have given our supporters something to cheer about, being in the game longer, but we couldn't. They're a good side and things didn't quite go our way, to put it mildly.''

He added: "The highlight was our supporters, throughout the game they kept behind us and they've done the city proud, they were absolutely tremendous.''

Parkinson also felt the dismissal of goalkeeper Matt Duke in conceding the penalty that De Guzman scored from was "harsh'' with his side already 3-0 down.

He said: "I think in the context of the game the ref could've just looked at that and said 3-0 down and a penalty against us, a yellow card would have sufficed, and obviously after that it was game over.''

Bradford will now switch their attention back to their League Two campaign. The club are 11th in the standings on 44 points, eight off the top seven.

Parkinson said: "We'll dust ourselves down, we've enjoyed the experience. We've got 15 league games to go and we'll attack every single one of them in a really positive mindset.''

Sunday's cup triumph caps a remarkable rise for Swansea, who just a decade ago were almost relegated out of the Football League only to survive after beating Hull 4-2 on the final day of the 02/03 season.

Midfielder Leon Britton, who featured in that victory over Hull, said: "It's been unbelievable the last 10 years. We nearly dropped out of the Football League and now here we are in the Premier League, winning our first major honour and qualifying for Europe. It was a great day. You've got to give credit to Bradford, they've been brilliant throughout the tournament. Unfortunately there has to be a winner and a loser. Obviously I'm delighted we've won but you've got to feel for the Bradford lads.''

On the prospect of European football, he said: "It'll be great. It will be a great adventure next season for the players and fans alike.''

Another long-serving player, Garry Monk, said: "To do this in the centenary year, to bring major silverware back to the club, it just puts the icing on the cake of the journey the club's been on for the last ten years. Swansea could not have had a football club, that's how close it was and to be on this journey since that day, to be where we are now, the board and the chairmen deserve so much credit for that, they've worked so hard behind the scenes.''

Monk also paid tribute to the work Laudrup has done, saying: "He deserves massive credit, we're on course hopefully for a top-ten finish (in the Premier League) as well. That's the pinnacle for a club like us in our second season in the Premier League, and if we can just continue to progress and build I'm sure we'll be there for many years to come.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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