'We did okay - but we need points'

29th November 2017
First team

Paul Clement felt Swansea City proved they have the stomach for a fight despite seeing them go down 1-0 at Chelsea.

The Swans battled hard at Stamford Bridge as the reigning Premier League champions were made to work for the points.

Antonio Rudiger’s 55th-minute goal proved the difference, and gave Chelsea a victory they deserved given that they controlled the game for long periods.

The Swans pushed for a response after falling behind, but could not find the moment of quality required to break the Blues down.

Clement’s men have now taken one point from their last six Premier League games, but the Swans boss was not disheartened by their efforts at Stamford Bridge.

“We did okay here,” he said.

“I think we frustrated Chelsea with the way we set-up. The way they play, with the wingers tucked in, it’s so important that you defend solidly through the middle, because those wingers can be very difficult to pin down.

“If we allowed anything, it was space out wide, and that meant they put in a lot of crosses and also won a lot of corners.

“The goal came from a deflection (after a quickly-taken corner), but the frustration for me was that we were not ready.

“There were players with their backs turned and not in the right position.

“Teams like Chelsea wear you down. They fatigue you and then, when the ball goes out of play and you think you are going to get a little rest, they play a quick corner like that and you get caught out.

“The shot (from N’Golo Kante) deflects off Wilfried Bony’s head and goes into an area that’s very difficult to defend.”

Though he was disappointed with the nature of the goal, Clement was encouraged by his team’s response to going behind.

“I was pleased our players didn’t fold,” he added.

“They continued to do their jobs defensively and at 1-0 you are always in the game.

“We came into the game more and in the last eight or nine minutes Chelsea got a bit edgy, even though we didn’t create anything really clear-cut.

“We are disappointed because we are so desperate for the points. On another day, with a bit more quality in the final third we might have got something.”

Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois made only one save of any note, from Jordan Ayew’s shot, as the Swans drew a blank in front of goal for the fourth successive game.

And Clement acknowledges that his team must improve going forward.

“It has been a concern for a while that we are not creating many chances or scoring many goals,” he said.

“We have scored seven goals in 14 games. That’s going to make things very, very tough.

“I think you can see the players are trying and they are organised.

“It’s always going to be difficult coming to a place like Chelsea and creating lots of chances, but in other games against some less strong opposition, we could have created more.”