New Getafe CF coach Michael Laudrup believes his side will be able to rise to the challenge of a debut campaign in the UEFA Cup only if the club and players retain the same humility that has characterised previous seasons.
"Everyone knows that for a club like this getting to this level is difficult but staying here is even more difficult," the former Denmark midfielder said after signing a two-year contract today. "This season is going to be particularly hard because we are playing in an extra competition. We can't afford to neglect the other competitions. You see this happen with a lot of teams that aren't used to playing in Europe. The UEFA Cup and the King's [Spanish] Cup are great competitions but the league has to be the most important aim for us."
Laudrup, 43, will have a daunting task living up to the achievements of predecessor Bernd Schuster who steered the modest outfit to consecutive ninth-place finishes and to a first Spanish Cup final before taking charge at Real Madrid CF. Club president Ángel Torres said he was convinced Laudrup was up to the job: "It is great that we've been able to bring such a prestigious person to take charge of a small club like Getafe. With every day that passes Getafe is becoming a bigger and more professional club."
Laudrup, who like Schuster played for both FC Barcelona and Madrid, said one of the reasons he accepted the Getafe offer was the ambition the club had demonstrated in recent seasons. "The president has already raised the bar by saying he wants to repeat the successes of previous seasons and that's what I like. The club has only been in the Primera División a short time but it has played a style of football that most people like watching. It's a club that is looking for new things.
"The good thing about this team is that we aren't obliged to win the league or to qualify for the [UEFA] Champions League; there is no fixed objective. We are in three competitions, including the UEFA Cup, and we have to learn from that experience. It won't be easy, though." Laudrup worked as assistant to Denmark coach Morten Olsen between 2000 and 2002 before taking up his first managerial post at former club Brøndby IF where he won the league and two Danish Cups before stepping down in 2006.
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