Paul Clement: FA Cup is chance for Swansea City to build momentum

Paul Clement
Swansea are the second team Paul Clement has managed, having been in charge of Derby in the 2015-16 season

New Swansea City boss Paul Clement believes the FA Cup could help his side build the momentum needed to escape Premier League relegation.

The Swans, who are second from bottom in the Premier League table, travel to Hull in the third round on Saturday.

And despite the focus on top-flight survival, Clement insists he will learn from his first game in charge.

"It is not a distraction, it is a chance for me to prepare the team," said Clement.

"We have had a couple of sessions and it is a chance for me to observe the players, the level they are at and what we need to do in terms of personnel to improve the team.

"We want to win the game and we approach every game like that, but more than that I want to see a performance."

Clement has fond memories of the FA Cup, having won it in 2009 and 2010 when he was assistant at Chelsea to first Guus Hiddink and then Carlo Ancelotti.

It was assisting Ancelotti at Bayern Munich that Clement left to take over at the troubled Swans, but he is excited now to be involved in the FA cup again.

"I love it as a competition," said Clement.

"Having been to the final and stood there with the trophy on the podium, 'Abide With Me' and the national anthem ringing out around you, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up."

Paul Clement
Clement swapped the stands for the dug-out at Selhurst Park as his new side pulled off a dramatic 2-1 win over Crystal Palace

Two ways to look at tough run

Clement knows that this season it is not a cup run he will be judged on, but whether he can guide Swansea away from the Premier League's bottom three.

He saw his side earn a morale-boosting win at Crystal Palace last time out, where Clement departed his seat in the stands at Selhurst Park to man the touchline.

The Welsh club now face a daunting run of league fixtures with Arsenal, Liverpool, Southampton, Manchester City, Leicester and Chelsea all lying ahead.

"There are two ways to look at it. We want to get some momentum going and we have some very difficult games," said Clement.

"But if we do that now we move into a period where we will play a lot of teams in the bottom half of the table and those results will be even more important. If it is now or then, the bottom line is you have to play everybody.

"Going back to the end of last season this is a team that picked up a good amount of points in the second half of the season.

"There are capable and able footballers here. I think over recent games to ship three goals, three goals, four goals, five goals, I'm confident in my ability as a coach that that won't happen under my reign.

"I can't say 100% it won't. There is a lot of randomness in football. But I'm pretty confident it won't happen because I can get a team organised."

Hello again 'the Swansea way'?

As well as picking up results and making his new side more robust, Clement has vowed to try to return to the possession-based style of play the Swans were renowned for in the past too.

"From outside it's obvious how we're going to be assessed - it's whether we stay in this league or not this season," he added.

"From my own point of view, my vision is a little bit shorter than that. I think it's going to be a success in the short-term if we start to get the team playing well again, playing good football, the kind of football people have been used to see going back maybe 10 years, when Roberto Martinez was here, Paolo Sousa and Brendan Rodgers.

"I think my ideas of football are not dissimilar to them about the style, and I think the fans have enjoyed that kind of football here."

Cristiano Ronaldo
New Swansea boss Paul Clement once had to substitute Cristiano Ronaldo in a game

Hey, Ronaldo you're coming off!

And Clement has revealed that he does not expect any of his Swansea players to complain if he substitutes them in a game.

When at Real Madrid with Ancelotti serving a touchline ban, he had to do just that to the very best in the world.

"I actually took him [Cristiano Ronaldo] off, would you believe that?" said Clement.

"In our very last game at Madrid, Carlo was serving a two-game suspension so I was on the touchline.

"I said 'Cris, we're going to take you off in the second-half in this minute'.

"Is that a claim to fame? I could say to some of the Swansea players if I take them off and they shake their head. I can say 'I've taken off Cristiano Ronaldo' so I can take you off."

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