Football

No free pass at Liberty Stadium

Swansea boss Clement promises to make life difficult for title-chasing Tottenham

English Premier League
SWANSEA TOTTENHAM

Swansea boss Paul Clement has told Tottenham their English Premier League title credentials will be tested to the limit at the Liberty Stadium.

Tottenham's win at Burnley last weekend, along with a rare Chelsea slip at home to Crystal Palace, has breathed new life into a title race which appeared to be over.

The gap now stands at seven points and Spurs hope to reduce that deficit further at relegation-threatened Swansea tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Chelsea have a tough-looking home fixture against Manchester City on the same night and Clement believes his former club will be wary of a Spurs side who have won their last four league games.

"It is different for Tottenham this year to last," Clement said.

"They were closer last year than they are now, but Chelsea will be looking over their shoulders.

"Tottenham have players performing to their full potential and Chelsea's result (against Palace) will have given them belief they can take the title race to the end.

"This is a game where they'll be thinking, 'if we want to be champions, we have to go to Swansea and win'.

"But it won't be easy for them coming here, because we really need the points as well."

Swansea are one point and one place above the relegation zone after last Saturday's stalemate with Middlesbrough.

Clement admitted after the 0-0 draw that Swansea had missed the physical presence of 11-goal top-scorer Fernando Llorente.

Swansea hope that Llorente's ankle injury has healed enough for him to take his place on the bench, but Jordan Ayew is set to start again as he seeks to make a greater impact than he did against Middlesbrough.

BLUES CAN MANAGE STRESS

"We have to vary the game more," Clement said.

"When you put in a cross for someone like Llorente, he can cause havoc on his own.

"With Jordan, you have to get more bodies in the box to help him and we did not really do that in the first half against Boro.

"You can still cross the ball, but the type of cross needs to be different. You cannot loop them in from deep, they have to come in a lot harder, lower and earlier, and vary the angles in terms of the cut-backs.

"Tactically we have had a lot of joy doing that, the challenge is to get support up and around Jordan."

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino has played down Tottenham's chances of catching leaders Chelsea and insisted the Blues have too much experience to be affected by pressure.

"We reduced the gap by three points, but it's still a big gap, seven is a massive difference," Pochettino said.

"Chelsea won the Premier League two-and-a-half years ago and 80 per cent of the players have experience of how to manage the pressure.

"They can win or lose, but it's not putting pressure on them."

Chelsea's players may have more experience but Spurs do have the momentum, having won five games on the bounce and scoring 17 goals in that period.

"Nothing is impossible in football and that is our idea, our philosophy," said Pochettino.

"We need to keep going in that direction and it's true the Premier League is tough to play in, and to win every game and compete. It's so competitive.

"Can it happen? Yes, of course, it can happen and our mind must be positive to try to imagine and dream and believe and give of our best." - PA SPORT

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