Doha, Qatar - Former Swansea coach and Denmark international Michael Laudrup has joined Qatari football champions Lekhwiya on a one-year contract in a bid to ‘try a new experience’.
Denmark (assistant mgr)
Laudrup was sacked by Swansea in February this year, barely 12 months after guiding the English Premier League side to the League Cup triumph. Lekhwiya, meanwhile, won the Qatar Stars League last season and Laudrup, who played for Barcelona and Real Madrid, is keen to get his eye in before committing to a long-term role at the club.
“This will be the eighth country I’ll be living in and it’s a new experience for me,” Laudrup told Al Jazeera during a press unveiling at the club. “I’ve been part of the two best leagues in the world (La Liga and EPL) and I’m not going to be a manager for another 10-20 years. We only live once, right? So I thought to myself why not try a new experience, something different.
“I didn’t know much about the team to be honest. The club offered me a longer contract but I opted for one year. If, after the year, I’m happy and the club is happy then we continue. If not then we shake hands and it would’ve been an experience for me. That’s how I see it.”
Lekhwiya are currently missing 12 players who are away on national duty, including Algerian defender Madjid Bouguerra. With just over a month to get the team in shape, Laudrup will have to put in extra work despite having made his way into Doha just a few days ago. But while his players have been away playing football, Laudrup has had a quiet last quarter following his sacking at Swansea.
“It’s part of the job [sacking]. There’s this saying that it’s easier to get rid of one person than 20. It’s easier to change the coach when the results are not there. But if you look at statistics from the big leagues, more or less 40-50% of coaches get sacked. That’s how it happens and if you can’t accept that, then you shouldn’t be a coach.”
Lekhwiya failed to go past the group stages of the Asian Champions League last season, sitting third behind Al Ain and Al Ittehad. Laudrup, meanwhile, acknowledges the importance of doing well in that tournament, hinting that he might strengthen his squad for a better show in the Champions League next season.
“There are two parts to our schedule – the national events and the international one, the Champions League. There are some very good teams in there, from Saudi Arabia, from Korea and from China. We’ll have to look carefully at who can provide us with the extra something we need on the field. It’s really important to get players that really have the hunger and that’s important for the team.”