Clement is hoping for knock-out blow after fighting talk
PAUL Clement wants Swansea City to come out swinging on the back of their dressing room verbals at Stoke City.
Following the Swans 10th defeat of the Premier League season, a result that sent them to the bottom of the table, defender Martin Olsson admitted there had been heated discussions among the squad in the bowels of the bet365 Stadium.
They are the sort of incidents that tend to be viewed one of two ways.
On the one hand, it can be viewed as a squad coming apart at the seams amidst acrimonious infighting. Others would see it as at least a sign that the players care passionately about the worrying situation the club finds itself in once again.
It’s probably no surprise that head coach Clement sees it in the latter form, and he was quick to quash any suggestion that more than words had been exchanged.
“I’ve seen things thrown around dressing rooms, I’ve seen fights,” said Clement, who was once in a dust-up with Jose Bosingwa at Chelsea that had to be separated by Didier Drogba and Carlo Ancelotti.
“If a fight was a 10 out of 10, this was a one out of 10 in terms of ferocity. It was words, it was nothing really and, in fact, it was me doing most of the speaking.
“It was me talking to the players and at the end they exchanged a few words. It quickly died down and it wasn’t out of control.
“It’s not a dressing room in mutiny or in chaos. It was just passionate people who care about what they’re doing and want to do better.
I’ve come close to (a 10 out of 10). That one was me and Jose Bosingwa at Chelsea.
“But that was also not so bad. It’s nothing like it used to be, compared to changing rooms in the 1970s and 80s. I’ve seen things thrown around and players going at each other, but I won’t mention where or who.
“But pressure builds when results are not coming and the performances are not at the level you want. It’s normal for that frustration to come out and I’m a little surprised it’s come out now and not a little bit earlier.
“I sensed real disappointment after the game and maybe people needed to say a few things that had been festering. It’s a case of getting it out in the open, dealing with it like a man and moving on quickly.
“I haven’t sensed any issues since then. Training has been in good spirits, people are focused.
“It hasn’t been a bright, bubbly place, but I’ve sensed people getting their heads down and knowing they need to get on with their jobs.”
But Clement still took the opportunity to clear the air with his squad on Monday morning, but he will want to see that sort of emotion present against West Brom, in a game some are predicting will end in Clement’s dismissal should Swansea suffer another loss.
“On Monday, I spoke to the players. It wasn’t a discussion, just me giving my thoughts on some things. I think it was taken in the right manner and then we got out on the pitch to work again,” he said.
“What I said to the players was that this is the same as last year. After a game there is a lot of emotion and analysis, but then you have to move on.
“After 24 hours you put it aside, deal with the facts, and move on to the next thing. It’s been no different this week.
“In my view, there are no divisions, it is a cohesive dressing room. It is a dressing room which is disappointed, but they are fighting and showing their passion for the club.
“I was glad it happened, I had been waiting. It was not disrespectful, it was a healthy discussion and one needed that to happen. Some hones- ty was spoken, andhopefully it has the right effect.”
Clement had faced the press shortly after those scenes had unfolded in the dressing room, and the former Bayern Munich assistant struck a downcast figure, calling his side “mentally fragile” and “toothless”.
But he insists it was not the performance of a man at the end of his tether after a wretched run of results.
“No, I am not at the end of my tether,” he said.
“There is a lot of emotion for the players and me at the end of the game. I was disappointed at the end of the game and that is the reason I looked so frustrated, I am not at end of my tether,
“I still feel very much this team can get out of situation it is in. We need to be focused and turn preparation into performance. I have no doubt I am the man to turn it around and the players are behind me.”
> Last weekend’s defeat at Stoke ramped up the pressure on Swansea boss Paul Clement