Football

Clement makes early impact

Swansea caretaker coach pays tribute to incoming manager's influence on players against Palace

Interim manager Alan Curtis credited Paul Clement with giving Swansea players a "huge lift" before their crucial 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace.

Clement was appointed the club's new head coach just hours before kick-off.

He watched much of the game from the stands and will officially manage his first match against Hull on Saturday, but also spoke to his new squad before kick-off and at half-time, in addition to joining Curtis on the touchline.

Playing with greater intensity and confidence than they have long shown, 19th-placed Swansea secured only their fourth English Premier League victory of the season when Angel Rangel's 88th-minute finish restored their lead after Wilfried Zaha's volley appeared to have ensured a 1-1 draw.

Alfie Mawson's first-half header had given the visitors a deserved lead, with Palace again poor during their third game under Sam Allardyce.

"Paul came down, he made a real positive contribution," the 62-year-old Curtis said.

"Met him the first time this afternoon, he came in the dressing room to talk to the players before the game, also came down at half-time, then right at the end there, and was involved in the substitutes as well.

"There's nothing better for any player, having a new manager in the stands. I told the players starting, 'You've the first chance to impress'. You've got a new manager in, it's going to give a huge lift to everyone."

Curtis was also asked to what extent Clement was involved at half-time, and he said: "He came down, he took an active part in it, he took it from the off.

"He made the players aware that the second half was going to be completely different, that Palace would come at us, which they did. He made a real positive contribution."

Clement, who signed a two-and-a-half-year deal, has his sights fixed on EPL survival after revealing his desire to become a manager again.

"I'm delighted to be here," Clement told the official club website.

"I had a brief spell as head coach not too long ago at Derby. It was a role I enjoyed thoroughly before I went to Bayern Munich as assistant manager.

FOOTBALLING PHILOSOPHY

"But my real desire and ambition was to become a head coach again as quickly as possible, so I am absolutely delighted to be here at Swansea and a Premier League manager.

"I would like to think my footballing philosophy goes hand in hand with the club's.

"That's part of the reason the club chose me and a big part of the reason why I wanted to come to the club.

The 44-year-old added: "It is a massive challenge; there's no other way to put it.

"But challenges are exciting and that's why I came here. I could have stayed at Bayern, but I've chosen to come into a very challenging situation.

"It excites me to do that and that's the attitude I want the players to have. It's a big task, but it can be done."

The result means Allardyce has taken only one point from his first three fixtures since succeeding Alan Pardew as Palace manager, leaving them just one above the bottom three.

They were again as unconvincing as in Sunday's 2-0 loss at Arsenal, but the manager was critical of referee Paul Tierney for not giving them a first-half penalty despite goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski not appearing to make contact with Christian Benteke when the striker went down, and one in the second half when he felt Rangel had handled the ball.

"Fatigue (is the main reason for our performance)," said the 62-year-old.

"Not having enough recovery time compared to Swansea.

"The referee blatantly allows the goalkeeper to stay on the pitch and doesn't give us a penalty, so the referee's to blame, but we can't control the referee.

"That performance in the first half just wasn't good enough. I have to take a bit of responsibility - picking almost the same team (just two days after losing at Arsenal) was the wrong thing for me to do.

"(This is proving) a bigger challenge, after three games, than I expected.

"Then we had another really poor decision on the handball (by Rangel) from the referee, in the box. It's been a very difficult night for us all." - PA SPORT

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