Cle­ment agrees terms on Swansea role

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - FRONT PAGE - By John Percy and Gra­ham Clut­ton

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.”

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