Paul Clement: Swansea City must get small details right
5th January 2017
Paul Clement plans to get the small details right as he attempts to lead Swansea City out of relegation danger.
Clement has today been unveiled as the Swans' new head coach after agreeing a two-and-a-half year deal at the Liberty Stadium.
The 44-year-old, who quit as Bayern Munich's assistant manager to take charge in SA1, admits he faces a significant challenge as he bids to haul the Swans out of trouble.
But Clement reckons there is enough quality and character in the Swans dressing room to keep the club in the Premier League.
Clement, who was previously in charge at Derby, has refused to set a points target for his side as he contemplates what it will take to avoid the drop.
Instead he is keen to concentrate on getting performances right.
"You can go through all the past figures to see what it takes to stay up in terms of points, but that target is so far away," Clement said.
"I know what can be achieved. My brother (Paul) was in the West Brom team who survived (in 2005, despite being bottom at Christmas). I was close to that and I know what can be done.
"But the focus for me and my staff is small details. We are looking at getting the team organised, with people understanding their roles and responsibilities.
"I think the players want that - they want to know what is expected of them on the pitch. With me, they will know exactly what they need to do.
"They have worked under different managers this season, with different training methods and different playing styles.
"But hopefully we can give them a bit of continuity now, as well as some clear guidance and instruction.
"And my belief is that if we get those small details right, we will have a much better chance of getting results."
Clement spent eight months as Derby boss last season, losing his job despite leading the Rams to fifth place in the Championship.
Having cut his coaching teeth in academy football with Chelsea and Fulham, he stepped up to senior football when he worked under Carlo Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge.
He also assisted the Italian at Paris Saint-German and Real Madrid before joining him in Muncih last summer.
Now he faces what may be his biggest coaching challenge yet, as he looks to rejuvenate a Swans side who have struggled in the first half of 2016-17.
"It's a big task. It's a big task to work at Bayern Munich or Chelsea, but it's absolutely a different thing being the head coach compared to being assistant manager," Clement added.
"It's a bigger task for me personally because ultimately I take a lot of responsibility for what's going to happen here - picking the team, deciding the set-up and the tactics and also playing a part in recruitment.
"I shoulder a lot of responsibility, but I am absolutely up for the challenge.
"I said to the players that I am with them. I could have stayed at Bayern but I wanted a new challenge, and I can sense already that this is going to be really exciting. I have got a good feeling about it."
Clement's first game in charge will be Saturday's FA Cup trip to Hull City, although he ended up on the touchline during Tuesday's morale-boosting win at Crystal Palace.
He was impressed with what he saw at Selhurst Park, as the Swans deservedly won an away league game for only the second time this season.
"I had a brief discussion with the players before Crystal Palace and I said I wanted to see character and players showing me they are up for the challenge," he said.
"I saw that. I saw that in their confidence in the first half, the way they played and took the game to Palace.
"We were under the cosh a bit more second half, but the team showed great character to come back after Palace equalised.
"The atmosphere in the dressing room afterwards was fantastic. There was a lot of relief and big smiles on faces.
"Now we have got to focus on working on the training ground to improve performance, particularly on the defensive side.
"We know this team can play good football. We want build on that, but I will also look to reduce the number of goals we concede.
"At Palace I saw lots of fighters and lots of character, and I saw quality as well."
Clement on being a No. 1 again
"I had an experience last season at Derby, my first role as a head coach, which ended prematurely.
"But I thoroughly enjoyed that role and I was clear I wanted to continue in the role.
"It had to be a good job, and the kind of offers which were coming in (last summer) were not as interesting as going to work with Carlo at Bayern Munich.
"I had six wonderful months there and it's a very difficult place to leave because it is such a fantastic club, but I am very grateful to get this opportunity to come to Swansea.
"I will now do my very best to make sure this team is successful."
Clement on keeping the Swans up
"I have been lucky over the last few years to work at some wonderful clubs who won a lot of games and were competing for titles.
"I am a competitor. I like to win. The first thing to try to do here is get some performances, and that should lead to results.
"At the moment I am looking at the players, not just in games but in training. We are videoing and reviewing everything to assess what we have.
"We are also trying to get some information into them so we can win games."
Clement on transfers
"We have had lots of discussions with the owners already about how we can improve the team during this window.
"It needs to be done quickly, but at the moment I am gathering information on the players who are already here and I think it's only fair that they get the opportunity to show what they can do.
"The club were discussing targets before I came in. Those targets are known to me, and I bring some of my own ideas about where I think we need to strengthen and on some players I like."