Clement: Let's progress - and let's do it with style
Paul Clement has challenged Swansea City to climb the table – and to do it in style – as they get set to start the new Premier League season at Southampton this weekend.
The Swans’ seventh successive campaign as a top-flight club begins at St Mary’s on Saturday.
And after all the trauma that came with a long relegation battle last term, Clement is calling on his team to take a step forward in 2017-18.
“I have just met with the players to talk about or objectives for the season and those objectives are very clear,” said the Swans manager.
“We want to win games, we want to develop our playing style and our identity and we want to start the season well.
“We want to do better than we did last season. I want to win more games over the course of season. We won at Anfield last season, we were very close to winning at Old Trafford and we nearly got a point at Manchester City.
“That makes us feel that if we play well and the team we are playing don’t play so well, we can get a result anywhere.
“We also want to play with more identity, we want to score more goals and concede fewer goals. We want to be better in all areas.”
The Swans have bolstered their squad during the close season with the signings of Tammy Abraham, Roque Mesa and Erwin Mulder.
Gylfi Sigurdsson will not be involved at Southampton amid ongoing speculation about his future but, nevertheless, Clement feels the Swans are in good shape.
“I think we are stronger as a squad than we were last season,” he said.
“We haven’t had many players going out and we have integrated three new signings.
“We would still like to do a couple of other things and we have until the end of August to do that.”
The Swans will be without Fernando Llorente, Ki Sung-Yueng and Nathan Dyer at Southampton because of injuries.
And Clement acknowledges that his side will face a stern test against the club who finished in eighth place last season.
“Any game away from home in the Premier League is hard and Southampton are a good side,” he said.
“They had a good league finish last season. They play a good style of football and they have good players.
“I respect them as a club because they have a tradition of developing players, and we are expecting a difficult test.”