Wednesday 17 January 2018

My debut in Swans dug-out seems 'a lifetime ago' - Clement

Paul Clement won his first game as Swansea boss at Crystal Palace in January
Paul Clement won his first game as Swansea boss at Crystal Palace in January

Boss Paul Clement returns to the Selhurst Park scene of his first Swansea game admitting it "seems a lifetime ago".

Clement was appointed head coach nine months ago on January 3, with Swansea bottom of the Premier League and reeling from Bob Bradley's disastrous 85 days in charge.

That night Swansea were playing at relegation rivals Crystal Palace and Clement was supposed to be having a watching brief from the stands.

But Clement ended up joining caretaker manager Alan Curtis in the technical area in the second half, and Swansea beat Sam Allardyce's Palace 2-1 to start their climb to top-flight safety.

"It was an important game and a positive result, but it seems a lifetime ago," Clement said ahead of Swansea's league visit to Palace.

"It's a different situation, the context is different, but it's another important game for us.

"You want to try and get a positive result going into an international break.

"You don't want to spend two weeks hanging around after a bad result waiting to play again."

Swansea have looked shot-shy in their opening two games following the £45million sale of Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton and the loss of last season's top scorer Fernando Llorente to injury.

They have managed only one attempt on goal in their opening two games, a goalless draw at Southampton and a 4-0 home defeat to Manchester United.

But Swansea claimed their first win and first goals of the season in Tuesday's 4-1 Carabao Cup win at MK Dons.

On-loan Chelsea youngster Tammy Abraham also had the boost of scoring his first Swansea goal.

"It's incredible what a win can do," Clement said.

"I named a strong side because I wanted a win and a performance and we got that.

"When we won games last season it was because we were clinical and we managed to be ruthless at MK Dons.

"We are in a better mood going into the weekend because of that win and that will help us there."

Palace have lost their opening two league games under new manager Frank de Boer, 3-0 at home to new boys Huddersfield and 1-0 at Liverpool.

De Boer grew up at Ajax and wants to change the style of play, but Selhurst Park is more used to relegation scraps than Total Football.

"They have had two very different managers in him and (Sam) Allardyce," Clement said.

"He is trying to change the culture and how they play and that is not an easy thing to do.

"It takes time to develop, but he was a great player and has a lot of experience as a manager too."

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