Monday 25 September 2017

Swansea head coach Paul Clement: I have faith in Borja Baston

Swansea boss Paul Clement, pictured, retains faith in record signing Borja Baston
Swansea boss Paul Clement, pictured, retains faith in record signing Borja Baston

Swansea boss Paul Clement insists he has faith in the club's record signing Borja Baston as he prepares to be without top scorer Fernando Llorente again.

Llorente missed Sunday's goalless stalemate against relegation rivals Middlesbrough with an ankle injury, and the 11-goal striker is unlikely to be fit to start at home to in-form Tottenham on Wednesday.

Clement preferred January signing Jordan Ayew to Borja against Middlesbrough, keeping the £15.5million Spaniard on the bench as he became the first Swansea manager not to make a single substitution in a Premier League game.

Borja has started only four league matches since joining from Atletico Madrid last August, which his game-time having become even more limited since Clement became Swansea head coach at the start of January.

The 24-year-old has had only 39 minutes of Premier League action under Clement, with his last league start coming against West Ham on Boxing Day.

But Clement said: "I have faith in Borja. If I didn't, I wouldn't even put him on the bench.

"I've put him on the bench because in a given moment he can have an impact.

"My job as coach is to decide who's going to have the bigger impact, those on the pitch or those coming on from the bench.

"Borja is training very well and Oliver McBurnie has been involved again.

"They have to be ready for the opportunity when I call upon them. That could be on Wednesday or on Saturday."

Clement defended his decision not to make any changes as the Swans laboured to a draw against Middlesbrough, who have not won a league game since December 17.

The result failed to release the pressure on Swansea, who are one place and one point above the relegation zone with eight games left to play.

"At half-time, we spoke about what we could do and we were always talking and thinking about potential changes," Clement said.

"That went on all the way through the second half until the final five minutes, and I was close to doing something.

"But, based on what I saw, we were tight enough at the back and creating enough chances and w e were getting into the right areas. So that is the reason I did not change.

"Sometimes you can look back and think you made a mistake, but in this situation I feel comfortable I didn't make any changes."

Clement is "considering changes" on Wednesday with little more than 72 hours between the Middlesbrough and Spurs games.

But that will probably not include a starting role for Llorente, with the Spaniard more likely to be lining up at West Ham on Saturday.

"Llorente is still touch and go for the next game," Clement said. "It is possible because he has responded well to treatment.

"Wednesday is going to be tight. It is possible, but I don't think he would be 100 per cent fit as he has not been training.

"We have to look at him maybe making an impact from the bench. Otherwise we have more time to prepare for West Ham.

"I think the weekend is a more realistic target. It won't drag on - it is a minor thing.

"He was comfortable to train with it. It has settled down and hopefully he'll be back very shortly."

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