Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup was absolutely delighted but also magnanimous in victory following his Premier League team’s 5-0 trouncing of npower League 2 Bradford City to win the Capital One Cup Final at Wembley.
Two goals each for winger Nathan Dyer and midfielder Jonathan de Guzman, plus a 19th of the season for Spanish striker Michu, gave the Swans their first major trophy in the 100-year history of the Welsh club.
The big win also destroyed Bradford’s hopes of becoming the first League 2 level team to win the League Cup and the first European club to lift a major trophy while playing in the fourth tier of their domestic league.
“I think this final will remain in history,” said Laudrup, “a small part because of us but a big part because of Bradford. We all know what Bradford have done this season – they have beaten Wigan and Arsenal, and Aston Villa over two legs, so what they have done is absolutely outstanding.
“That’s why I’m so happy for the way we won the game. We knew it would not be easy but we played well, we played with patience, and when we scored the third goal just after half time we knew it was game over.”
Game over it certainly was and Bradford, for all their heroics in reaching the Final against all the odds, were totally outclassed in a game they finished with 10 men after goalkeeper Matt Duke was sent off for the foul that led to the 59th-minute penalty scored by Dutchman De Guzman.
The Bantams’ fans never stopped their loud chanting and mass flag-waving in support of their favourites, however, and an emotional manager Phil Parkinson said: “The highlight of the day for me was the way that the supporters stuck with the team right throughout the game.”
Parkinson also paid tribute to his players despite their heavy loss. “There were things we could have done better today,” he said, “but we did everything to our maximum and I don’t want to be critical of anybody.
“To go to Wigan and win, to go to Watford and win, to beat Arsenal and beat Aston Villa over two legs has been a great achievement. The players have been a credit. The way they’ve conducted themselves throughout has been outstanding.”
While Parkinson and his team were left to return to their battle for promotion from League 2, Laudrup was contemplating a top 10 finish in the Premier League – but not before placing Swansea’s historic triumph in context.
As a player Laudrup was a Wembley winner with Denmark against England and a European Cup winner with Italian club Juventus, while also winning trophies with the likes of Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
But after Swansea had completed the biggest win in the history of the League Cup final he said: “It’s one thing to win a trophy with Barcelona, Madrid or Juventus, but to win it with a smaller team like Swansea is absolutely fantastic – and the first major trophy ranks very highly in the history of any club.”