Paul Clement: Player power is 'dangerous ground' says Swansea City boss

Paul Clement
A 2-0 defeat by Swansea was Claudio Ranieri's last Premier League game as Leicester boss

Swansea City boss Paul Clement believes the rise of "player power" is taking football to "dangerous ground".

Swans host Middlesbrough on Sunday, who recently sacked boss Aitor Karanka amid talk of rows at the Boro training ground.

Before a vital relegation clash, Clement said it was an unwelcome development.

"You hear stories of players (getting) into (the ears) of owners, that is dangerous ground," said Clement.

Clement's Swans also beat Leicester in what turned out to be Claudio Ranieri's last game in charge in the Premier League after the Italian was sacked amid rumours of dressing room discontent.

The allegations were later denied by the Foxes' players including striker Jamie Vardy.

Clement, who took charge at Swansea in January, said he did not blame the players, but club owners for often cutting the manager out of the equation when the going got tough.

"I don't think it's necessarily the players' faults," added Clement, whose previous managerial experience ended in the sack at Derby County.

"If they're given that opportunity, then who is going to not say? It's the fault of the owners.

"The owner picks the manager and he should manage the staff. And player power, it wouldn't exist at all if the route was owner, manager, players.

"If it goes round the manager that is when you eventually get it. The players don't create that, the owners create that."

The last throw of the dice

And, as he goes about trying to save the Swans from the drop to the Championship, Clement said he hoped things would be different at the Welsh club.

He said: "I would hope if our owners, our chairman, weren't happy about what I was doing, we'd have a very direct conversation and were transparent, it would be face-to-face."

Clement's position since taking over following the sacking of Bob Bradley would seem pretty safe for the moment despite defeats at Hull and Bournemouth having dragged Swans back perilously close to the bottom three.

At home though Clement has engineered a turnaround with his side taking nine points from a possible 12 on offer at the Liberty Stadium.

The Swans will be hoping it is a similar story against a Boro side one place off the bottom and five points behind their hosts.

Paul Clement
When trolled on social media, Swansea boss, Paul Clement had the perfect response referencing his time as assistant boss to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid

The visitors are managed by caretaker, Steve Agnew, and Clement is hoping Boro do not get the lift a new manager often brings, but admitted his side were lucky to catch Leicester at the end of Ranieri's reign.

"They (Middlesbrough) had come off the back of some bad results and it's the last throw of the dice for them in terms of can they get that bounce back by bringing in someone new," said Clement.

"They thought that was a risk worth taking.

Steve Agnew and Aitor Karanka
Steve Agnew (left) was assistant head coach to former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka

"You could look at it and think, 'Oh we got fortunate with the timing of the Leicester situation'. That was Claudio Ranieri's last Premier League game.

"They played Seville after that and maybe, if we had caught them in Craig Shakespeare's first game, it would be a very different situation.

"It worked for us there, but whether it works for us in this one we don't know.

"But you can get too tied up with things that goes on outside your team. You need to spend the large majority of your focus on your own team and controlling things that are in your control."

As the pressure mounts at the bottom of the Premier League, one thing Clement cannot control is his players' reactions to the ever increasing impact of social media on the game.

'It was a bit petty maybe'

"If players do it (go on social media), I think they must understand they've got to be able to manage it," added Clement.

"You've got to cope with the praise as well as the criticism.

"At all the clubs I have been at recently, you hold meetings and the players used to sit and chat before the meeting started.

"Now everyone has their head down looking at a screen. Their minds are somewhere else."

Although Clement, who helped Real Madrid lift the Champions League title while assistant to Carlo Ancelotti, admits even he could not resist answering back to one online troll.

"I did react one day. It was when I was at Derby. Someone had said something," recalled Clement.

"I had said we could go on and do very well that season in the Championship. We were doing well at the time.

"Someone had made the comment, 'you couldn't win the Championship, never mind the Champions League' or something like that.

"So I posted a picture of my Champions League medal. It was a bit petty, maybe. And soon afterwards I took it down."

Top Stories