Paul Clement: Swansea City can compete with Arsenal
12th January 2017
Paul Clement heads into his home bow against Arsenal this weekend believing Swansea City can compete in any game if they get the basics right.
Clement takes charge of his first Liberty Stadium fixture when Arsene Wenger's men come to Wales on Saturday.
The Swans have spent the build-up to the game working on getting the fundamentals right at both ends of the field.
And Clement reckons his players have the ability to compete with the high-flying Gunners if they replicate what they have done through the week come Saturday afternoon.
"I think if the players execute what they have been doing in training and concentrate on the things I have talked to them about, we will have a chance in any game," he said.
"We want to play a certain way. We want to defend a certain way and attack a certain way and that's what I have been drilling into the players.
"I am sure the fans will see some slight differences in the way we do things. Hopefully our fans will soon start to see some winning football.
"It's not complicated stuff that we've been working on. I am talking about team organisation - the basics of how we defend and attack."
Clement's side are within a point of safety at the bottom-end of the Premier League courtesy of their rousing victory at Crystal Palace in their last top-flight outing.
But the new man at the top has made it clear that he does not want to talk survival targets at this stage.
Instead, Clement stresses, the Swans must focus on performing.
"The only thing we have looked at this week is feedback from Hull - what was good and what wasn't so good," he explained.
"Then we have worked in training to prepare for Arsenal. We haven't had any discussions about anything else other than that.
"Arsenal is the only thing we can prepare for and focus on. It would be naïve to think about anything beyond this game, about how many points we need from how many games.
"All we are thinking about is getting some good performances."
The Swans will be without Neil Taylor for the Arsenal clash after he suffered a fractured cheekbone.
The left-back has had surgery after colliding with Wayne Routledge during a training session, and must rest for three weeks.
He will then be fitted with a mask which should allow him to return to training.
Clement, meantime, admits he is relishing the prospect of leading a team at the Liberty for the first time.
"I am really looking forward to my first home game," he said.
"It's been a big ambition of mine to manage in this league and this game is going to be a special moment for me.
"Clearly it's going to be a difficult game, but I have been pleased with the players this week.
"We have worked on the field, in the gym and in the video room to get our ideas across.
"We are not giving them too much information, because if you do that players might end up getting confused.
"We are just trying to get the key ideas across to try to produce a performance this weekend."
Clement on Claude Makelele joining the Swans staff
"I think he will bring a different dynamic to the backroom staff and I am very pleased to have him.
"I knew him briefly as a player but much more when we worked together at Paris Saint-Germain.
"We were both assistants to Carlo Ancelotti for 18 months. He understands football and he is very good with people.
"I think with Nigel Gibbs and Karl Halabi, we have a nice blend of people with different skills and different personalities on the staff."
Clement on Neil Taylor's injury and the chances of signing a left-back
"Neil will initially be out of training for three weeks, although he can work physically in that time. He has fractured his cheekbone and had surgery last night, which went well.
"We are trying to do something in that position. We hope to be able to do that sooner rather than later because we now have only one fit left-back in Stephen Kingsley."
Clement on transfer speculation surrounding Fernando Llorente
"He is a very good player. He has experience of playing football at the highest level.
"He has been linked with a move but there's been no contact.
"It's similar with Gylfi Sigurdsson. We are in a situation where we need to win games and to do that you need your best players here.
"You want to keep your best players and they are two of the best players here, so absolutely we want to keep them."
Clement on Oli McBurnie
"He did well (in the under-21 win against Wolves). You want players to take the chance to impress.
"He did very well and he will be involved in the squad at the weekend."
Clement on how many signings he wants this month
"I don't have a number in mind. We want to try to strengthen but we don't want to rock the boat too much.
"Every day we are gathering information about the players who are already here.
"I think they are a good group of players, but I also think we can potentially improve the squad."