Cle­ment is hop­ing for knock-out blow af­ter fight­ing talk

Western Mail - - SPORT - An­drew Gwilym Foot­ball writer an­drew.gwilym@waleson­line.co.uk

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

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