Sunday 22 October 2017

Paul Clement brushes off talk of Swansea being in a relegation battle

Paul Clement has brushed off suggestions that Swansea are relegation candidates this season
Paul Clement has brushed off suggestions that Swansea are relegation candidates this season

Paul Clement insists it is far too premature to label Swansea relegation candidates.

Swansea escaped relegation from the Premier League last season when Clement oversaw a remarkable finish with 13 points taken from the final five games.

But Swansea's struggles have continued this season and a last-gasp 1-0 defeat at West Ham before the international break dropped them into the relegation zone.

Only bottom-placed Crystal Palace have scored fewer than Swansea, whose goal attempts and shots on target are the lowest in the division.

But head coach Clement, speaking ahead of Saturday's home game against Huddersfield, said: "It is much too early to say we are in a relegation battle.

"When I first arrived at the club (in January) they were writing us off, and when there were five games to go and it (relegation) was between us and Hull the pundits were saying 'Swansea are down'.

"But it made no difference to us, we knew what we had to do then and we know what we have to do now.

"A couple of good results - a win and a draw or back-to-back wins - and everything looks totally different."

Swansea have won only once in seven league games this season - a 2-0 victory at Palace in August.

The summer departures of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente appear to have had a drastic effect on their ability to create chances.

But Clement remains confident this issue will resolve itself over the coming months.

"I think this is a team that will get better and better as the season goes on," Clement said.

"We had more changes than I envisaged in the summer and we have players who have not played so regularly in the last year like Renato (Sanches) and Wilfried (Bony).

"When you add in four or five others it will take time to integrate them.

"I expect them to show an improvement and I'm confident we will be better in the second half of the season than the first."

Swansea could get an unorthodox helping hand with the presence of former Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti at their training ground.

Ancelotti left the German champions last month and Clement, who has been the Italian's assistant several times during his coaching career, said his former boss was likely to visit Swansea at some point this season.

"He said he will come and see me," Clement said.

"I don't know when it will be, but I look forward to having him here at the training ground and watching us play."

Press Association

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