Friday 22 September 2017

Paul Clement taking Swansea survival bid one match at a time

Swansea manager Paul Clement is determined to avoid a nail-biting end to the season
Swansea manager Paul Clement is determined to avoid a nail-biting end to the season

Paul Clement wants to make sure Swansea's battle for Premier League survival does not see them "suffer" through the final weeks of the season.

The 45-year-old head coach has made a considerable impact since succeeding Bob Bradley in January.

When Clement took over Swansea were rooted to the foot of the table, four points from safety. Now they are four points clear of the relegation zone thanks to a run of four wins from six games.

A daunting trip to Premier League leaders Chelsea lies in wait on Saturday, before Swansea embark on a run of fixtures that could go a long way to deciding their fate.

Home games against Burnley and Middlesbrough lie either side of away games at Hull and Bournemouth, but Clement refuses to think of that batch of games as a defining moment in Swansea's season.

Instead he has urged his side to see every game - even a trip to face Antonio Conte's leaders - as an opportunity to get the points required for survival, and thinks a failure to adopt such an attitude could leave them entering the final days of the season in trouble.

"In terms of preparation we just work on the next game," said Clement.

"I know what is happening after Chelsea and how big those games are, but I don't say it is a defining period.

"I say we have 13 games to go and we have to avoid suffering at the end of the season. We have to keep winning and moving up the table.

"We don't want to need four points from two games at the end because that is massive pressure, so we need to take every chance to get points and the next one is on Saturday.

"People may see it as a shot to nothing for us. That might have been the case going to Liverpool and Manchester City, but I think they would say we gave them hard games.

"In both games we worked very hard and I think we could give anyone a difficult game in this moment."

The Stamford Bridge clash sees Clement return to the club he served for nine years across two spells, holding roles from the Blues' centre of excellence all the way up to assistant manager under Carlo Ancelotti.

Clement's assistant Claude Makelele also served the Blues with distinction during his playing career, but there will be no room for sentiment when the Swans head to south-west London.

"We are not daunted by it, we go there confident trying to put on a good performance," he said.

"No one expects us to win. We have our own pressure on us, we have to improve. We are in a decent run and we have to keep that going with a performance even if we cannot get a result."

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