Alan Curtis: Swansea City win a pleasant surprise for Paul Clement
3rd January 2017
Alan Curtis reckons Paul Clement will be pleasantly surprised by what he saw from his new team after Swansea City secured a rousing 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.
Clement switched between the stands and the away dugout at Selhurst Park after being unveiled as the Swans' new head coach just a few hours before kick-off.
Curtis and Paul Williams picked the team for the Palace clash, but Clement spoke to the players in the dressing room before the game and at half-time - and had a hand in the substitutions the Swans made.
Between them, the Swans' caretaker management team and the new man at the top helped inspire a morale-boosting victory.
The Swans had lost four games in a row before heading to South London, and were without an away Premier League win since the opening day of the season.
But Angel Rangel's dramatic late goal means Clement's men are just a point away from climbing out of the relegation places.
"Paul has come into the club because he feels we can get out of trouble," Curtis said.
"He had a fantastic job at Bayern Munich working with some of the best players in the world, but he wanted the challenge of coming to us.
"I think if people who have only seen our results would have been surprised by the way we played tonight, especially in the first half when we were really good.
"And I think Paul would probably have been surprised himself at how well we played.
"What we have got to do now is take it on from here. We beat Sunderland the other week and thought we had turned a corner, then we lost four games in a row.
"We have some brutal fixtures coming up but, if we keep playing like that, we will compete in games."
The Swans were the better side by some distance in the first period at Palace, and might have led earlier than they did had Fernando Llorente, Jack Cork and Wayne Routledge not missed goalscoring chances.
The goal they deserved eventually came three minutes before half-time, when Gylfi Sigurdsson swung in a corner from the left flank and Alfie Mawson glanced home his first goal for the club.
Palace came back into the game after the break, although they created few opportunities and the Swans looked like holding on for a 1-0 win until Wilfried Zaha's classy volley seven minutes from time.
At that stage the momentum might have swung in Palace's favour, but the Swans dug deep to create one final chance which Rangel took in some style.
The veteran right-back, who had come on as a 71st-minute substitute, gathered a scooped pass from Leroy Fer before holding off his man and beating Wayne Hennessey with his weaker left foot.
"Paul met the players this afternoon, he spoke to them before the game and at half-time," Curtis added.
"Then right at the end he was involved in the decisions on the touchline.
"I think the fact that he has been appointed lifted the players. There's nothing better for any player than having a new manager looking at you.
"I said to the players before the game that they had the first chance to impress him, and they did that.
"In the first half we were very good. In the second half we knew Palace would come at us and we didn't keep the ball well enough.
"I thought when we conceded it was going to be a long few minutes at the end, but thankfully we showed enough resolve to get the winner and that's given us a huge lift."