Clement agrees terms on Swansea role
Swansea City will name Paul Clement as their new manager ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League game with Crystal Palace.
Clement, who is Carlo Ancelotti’s No2 at Bayern Munich, is understood to have agreed a contract in principle to take over in South Wales, and will meet the players at their hotel before the game at Palace. He will observe that match from the stands, meaning that his first full game in charge will be the FA Cup third-round tie against Hull City on Saturday.
Gary Rowett, Ryan Giggs and Chris Coleman were also linked with the role that has been vacant after the sacking of Bob Bradley last week, but Clement, 44, has beaten them to the post. His task already looks an onerous one: Swansea are rooted to the foot of the Premier League table after they were crushed by Bournemouth at the Liberty Stadium yesterday.
Goals from Benik Afobe, Ryan Fraser and Josh King gifted Eddie Howe’s side a 3-0 victory. Swansea have just 12 points, and are four adrift from safety.
Caretaker manager Alan Curtis, who took charge of the side with first-team coach Paul Williams, said “There could be a new manager at the helm [by Tuesday] or if not, we will just prepare for the game. It is day by day at the moment. I have not spoken to the chairman today because we have been preparing for the game.”
The fans gave Curtis’s side plenty of vocal backing until Afobe opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Thereafter, they called for the head of chairman Huw Jenkins and angled their anger at the American owners too.
Curtis said: “I felt there was a decent atmosphere around the ground at the start of the game. However, once that first goal goes in, the crowd suffers just as we did. They went a little bit quiet after that and they showed their dissatisfaction at the end. But that’s not so much towards the team, but issues off the park, maybe.”
Curtis believes the club have a mountain to climb to avoid relegation, but suggested that the players were good enough to achieve survival. “It is going to be very difficult, but I feel there should be enough there.”
The question on the lips of those who pitched up at the Liberty Stadium for Swansea’s latest Premier League humiliation was, ‘who would want the job of Swansea City manager?” By the time substitute Josh King had completed another miserable day for a club who are most definitely at their lowest ebb since winning promotion to the Premier League in May 2011, the role of manager was looking significantly less attractive for the incoming Paul Clement.
It is now seven defeats in the past 10 games and 25 goals conceded in seven matches. More concerning, perhaps, is the fact that West Brom, in 2005, are the only club to have survived in a 20team Premier League with so few points at this stage of the season.
The game was up, for Swansea, from the moment Bournemouth took the lead, in the 25th minute. Having dominated the opening quarter with a degree of ease, Benik Afobe scored after Lukasz Fabianski had done well to keep out an attempted clearance from his own defender Jordi Amat.
“I think you saw the confidence drain from the players,” said caretaker manager Alan Curtis, who made seven changes from the side beaten by West Ham United on Boxing Day.
It certainly did, and with Jack Wilshere almost unplayable in the final third, Swansea found themselves chasing shadows from that moment on.
Andrew Surman and Harry Arter provided a midfield platform of real substance on which Wilshere, Ryan Fraser and Junior Stanislas prospered. In first-half stoppage time, that triumvirate combined to finally put paid to any hopes Swansea might have had.
A neat exchange around the edge of the box enabled Stanislas to get in behind and when the winger teased his cross in front of Fraser, the diminutive
All smiles: Benik Afobe celebrates after scoring the opening goal for Bournemouth youngster poked out a foot and duly doubled the lead.
The second was equally tasteless for the Swansea supporters, whose venom was once again aimed at the chairman Huw Jenkins and the American owners. Stanislas and Afobe squandered golden opportunities to increase the lead, while at the other end, Bournemouth were quick to snuff out any potential danger.
Manager Eddie Howe rung the changes in the final quarter and, with two minutes remaining, King seized on another slip by Swansea to slide the ball home. The goal was greeted with calls of: “We want four.” That just about said it all. “It was a good day for us,” said Howe. “We started the match well and kept the ball very well, which was pleasing. The big difference between us today and previously was that we took our chances. The game was on a knife-edge at 1-0, so the second goal was the key moment.”