Clement makes instant impact

New Swansea manager, Paul Clement.
New Swansea manager, Paul Clement.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • New Swansea City manager Paul Clement began their relegation battle at Crystal Palace as an observer in the stands, yet ended the Premier League encounter barking out pitchside instructions and celebrating a crucial 2-1 victory.

The former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid assistant manager had been appointed only a few hours before the match on Wednesday at Selhurst Park and caretaker Alan Curtis was officially in charge.

Clement, however, came down to deliver a half-time team talk and would have seen plenty to encourage him as his side fought back from conceding a late leveller to snatch a 2-1 victory thanks to substitute Angel Rangel's winner.

"The new manager coming in is a huge part of it, it gives people a real lift," Curtis said. "Paul came down and made a real positive contribution."

Swansea went to Selhurst Park bottom of the table and on the back of a four-game losing streak. They had the joint worst defensive record in the league, which had ultimately brought about the end of Bob Bradley's tenure last week.

Alfie Mawson's header moments before the break had given Swansea the lead but Palace dominated the second half before Wilfred Zaha's acrobatic volley in the 83rd minute drew them level.

Rangel was brought on after consultation between Curtis and Clement and he found the net in the 88th minute to lift the Swans off the foot of the table and above Hull City.

Swansea now have 15 points, one less than 17th-placed Palace.

"Paul has come into the club because he feels we can get out of trouble," said Curtis.

Palace manager Sam Allardyce now knows that he faces a real fight to keep the London club in the top flight.

"The performance just wasn't good enough. It is a bigger challenge now after three games than I expected," he said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2017, with the headline 'Clement makes instant impact'. Print Edition | Subscribe