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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Laudrup: Valencia in a troubled time

Valencia manager Miroslav Djukic believes that Swansea will provide a tough challenge for his side as they prepare to host them in the UEFA Europa League

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has directed a jibe towards Thursday's Europa League opponents Valencia, suggesting the Spanish side are in a period of decline.

Michael Laudrup: Linked with Swansea exit
Laudrup is hoping to take advantage of Valencia's troubles.

Ahead of the Swans' trip to Valencia, Laudrup has admitted that his side are underdogs considering the European pedigree of Miroslav Dukic's side.

But the Dane has highlighted Valencia's poor start to the La Liga season -- which has seen them lose three out of four matches -- as a possible advantage for the Premier League club, while claiming Los Che have lost their standing as one of Spain's giants.

"They have been the third team in Spain for many years. Maybe at this moment Atletico Madrid are just above them," Laudrup said. "Having said that, they have had a very rough start. They have a new manager and they have sold a couple of their top players, like Roberto Soldado to Tottenham.

"They have had only one win in four games and on Sunday they play Sevilla, so it's a difficult moment for them. We have to do our best and, if we do that, I think we have a good chance.

"The Valencia fans have been used to seeing great players and great teams at their club. They always want the best and they ask for that. They demand it from the players and the manager, that they are up there competing with Barcelona and Real Madrid.

"Let's see how they react to where they are now, because in their minds Valencia are way beyond Swansea, even though we play in the Premier League. With all these small things and the moment they are in, let's see if we can take advantage."

Laudrup is no stranger to the Mestalla Stadium having played for Real Madrid and Barcelona during a glittering career and he believes the Europa League tie will be a valuable experience for his charges.

"It will be a huge experience. It's a great stadium," he added. "It is not new but it is big and I think for the fans, knowing what this club have achieved, it is great. Now we are playing them it has to be a great evening.

"I always enjoyed great football games here, whether it was with Barca or Madrid. Valencia always want to play good football, so I think this will be a very good game between two sides who play possession football."

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