However, at his pre-match conference in Russia, Laudrup suggested the Spain international may be out for longer at a time when he is desperately needed, with Swansea lacking a clinical edge in front of goal. “There are some players not at their best,” said Laudrup. “Michu, our top scorer last season, has been struggling for a few weeks and is not 100 per cent and unfortunately he is out again for maybe three to four weeks.” Such a diagnosis would mean Michu, who has started every Premier League and Europa League fixture so far this term, will not potentially return until the December 4 meeting with Newcastle. Laudrup was keen to make clear that is a worst-case scenario, but also revealed the player has been affected by a problem with both his knees in recent weeks and has gone to Spain for treatment on his various ailments. “When I say he has not been at his best, it is because he has been struggling with both his knees for many weeks, but he wanted to play anyway and he is one of our most important players,” said Laudrup. “So with this ankle injury hopefully he can get both his knees sorted as well. “He will be away in Spain for a few days for some injections.” Laudrup added: “Three to four weeks was the first medical opinion. But we said Ben Davies would be out for three to four weeks and he is back training with us now (after two weeks). “It is always better to do it that way, to say a little more rather than reduce it and say it is three weeks and it ends up being five.” Swansea manager Michael Laudrup admits Michu’s lay-off with an ankle injury could be longer than first expected. Press Association The 27-year-old Spaniard has scored 28 goals for the Swans since his bargain move from Rayo Vallecano, but was hurt in Sunday’s derby defeat against Cardiff. Laudrup had said at the time that Michu would definitely miss Thursday’s Europa League clash with Kuban Krasnodar and Sunday’s Premier League meeting with Stoke, but was hopeful he would be available again after the international break.
But to do so, they will have to produce their best form for the Magpies in the meantime, and Pardew, who revealed his pre-season preparations were geared towards a mass exodus, believes that can only be good news for the club. He said: “We knew that at the start and our performance director put a programme in that was really tough knowing that at the back of this season, they have a World Cup. “Their preparation has been very good and they have worked very hard, so where we stand today six months away, they are in great shape. “Hopefully they stay clear of injury and we have a good season and at the moment, the signs are good.” The most recent indications of Newcastle’s on-field health have indeed been hugely positive with back-to-back league victories over Chelsea and Tottenham having soothed the pain of earlier defeats by Hull and Sunderland. But the mood on the training ground is now even more positive with the club’s sizeable French contingent celebrating a remarkable 3-0 play-off second-leg victory over Ukraine which overturned a 2-0 deficit, and Ameobi’s Nigeria confirming their place with a 4-1 aggregate victory over Ethiopia. Pardew, whose side faces Norwich at St James’ Park on Saturday, said: “We have had some really good news in terms of Newcastle. Most of our players have made it to the World Cup with only Papiss, really, missing out. “The French game was significant, obviously. Two-nil down and to come back and win 3-0 has been an enormous boost for them. Pardew sent Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko, Loic Remy, Shola Ameobi and Papiss Cisse away for key games during the international break, and welcomed them back to Tyneside on Thursday with all but Senegal striker Cisse dreaming of a summer playing on the big stage. They will now all hope to make their respective national squads, along with the likes of Holland’s Tim Krul and Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote, for next summer’s festivities in South America. “Cabaye being at the centre of that and Debuchy playing both games was really good news for us, so our guys are really pleased about that. “Now it’s about focusing on an important game for their club. Today was about letting that one go. It’s great for them, they can look forward to the draw and the World Cup. “But for us, Norwich is the most important game.” Former England Under-21s striker Ameobi will hope to retain his place in the squad to fulfil his dream of playing at the World Cup finals at the age of 32. Pardew said: “I don’t think he will be going to another World Cup by his own admission, but it’s fantastic for him and for Nigeria. “He’s a top, top player and they are fortunate to have him. He could be a surprise package in that World Cup, Shola. “He has matured as a striker. He know he is in good form at the minute and I think he could do well on that stage.” Nigeria-born Ameobi will be out of contract at the end of the season, but Pardew would not be drawn on what the future might hold for him. He said: “I don’t know what happens with Shola in the future – he could become Prime Minister one day with his personality – but we certainly want to keep him around the club if we can.” At the other end of the scale, Cisse could have been forgiven for bemoaning his fortunes after seeing Tiote’s Ivory Coast end Senegal’s hopes of making it to Brazil. However, Pardew said: “I suspect I would have said that before training, but he was absolutely brilliant. He was our best player on the training ground, and that was really good to see. “Maybe the fact that his country is out of the World Cup, he probably realises it’s now really important now to focus and get back in the team and score goals. “He’s a big player for us and we need him in the goals.” Press Association Alan Pardew is urging his World Cup-bound stars to hone themselves for their trip to Brazil by re-establishing Newcastle as a Barclays Premier League force.