Laudrup: Finishing eighth would be like winning the title
Swansea City boss Michael Laudrup has claimed that finishing eighth in the Premier League would be like winning the title for his side.
The Welsh club go into their final game of the season against Fulham in ninth place, just two points behind West Brom who face a daunting meeting with Manchester United at the Hawthorns.
And Laudrup believes leapfrogging Steve Clarke's side on the last day would be a momentous achievement for Swansea given their limited budget.
"Things would have to go very bad for us not to finish ninth and we even have the possibility – if Manchester United can do us a favour – to be eighth," he said.
"And for us that's like winning the championship because eighth is probably the maximum we can be when you look at the seven above us.
"So ending up first or second in our league, plus the cup, makes it an amazing season. The only downside is that it's almost impossible to do better.
"How we take things on can be a problem. How can we do better? It's nearly impossible. But you always have to try and find a mark and a mark for this club, with the lowest budget in the Premier League, is try and consolidate in the mid-table.
"I know it sounds a little arrogant for a club with our budget to try and do that. But after two seasons in the Premier we have finished 11th and either eighth or ninth, so after achieving that we have to try and aim for it again."
The Dane also discussed the challenge of emulating this season's achievements next time around, with several clubs expected to splash out after receiving money from the lucrative new television deal.
"It won't be easy because I know clubs below us really want to spend heavily in the summer to try and do better than they have this season," he added. "So it is another huge challenge for Swansea City next season.
"There is more money (for us with the TV deal) but we have a philosophy at the club with salaries and fees, so it is difficult to compete.
"We have to try and do it our way, as we have done quite well this season, bringing in players before the others are aware of them – and we have to do it again.
"If we have to compete with the others (for players) we have no chance. Money is not everything in life, but it is quite important. So to have the lowest budget and be where we are is maybe even a bigger result than winning the cup. That's a tribute to my players.
"Now next season I want to try and consolidate Swansea because it is a big challenge as well as playing in Europe. I would like to have that experience as a club, as a team and I want to be a part of that."