Swansea City: Paul Clement says Pep Guardiola sold him on zonal marking

Clement and Pep
Paul Clement and Pep Guardiola

Swansea boss Paul Clement has revealed that Pep Guardiola is the inspiration behind their improvement in defending set pieces.

The Swans conceded more goals from set-pieces last season than any other Premier League side, but are yet to concede from a dead ball since Clement's appointment.

Clement credits a switch from man to zonal marking and admitted Guardiola was the inspiration behind it.

"It started at Bayern Munich," he said.

Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti succeeded Man City manager Guardiola at the Allianz Arena with Clement going with the Italian as his assistant.

"When I went to Bayern Munich, I had never used zonal defending, and when Carlo and I went there they had been using it under Guardiola and been successful so we had a decision to make as to whether to do what we had done at previous clubs or keep with what they had been doing and were used to," he explained.

"We actually changed our idea, things stayed the same for the players and it is one of the big reasons I changed it [at Swansea] because I did not have a lot of experience of it before, but doing it at Bayern gave me a lot of confidence.

"Up until I left we conceded from just one centre free-kick against Rostov. That was the only set-play we conceded from.

"Since we have been here we have not conceded a single goal from a corner or a wide free-kick."

Makelele, Clement, Gibbs
Nigel Gibbs (right) has been key to Swansea's defensive improvement, according to boss Paul Clement (centre)

Coaching influence

Clement also believes hard work on the training ground from former Tottenham coach Nigel Gibbs has helped his players to become more organised.

"We have changed some things, the players are doing their jobs correctly and we have shown we can defend well and we are a threat offensively as well," he said.

"That responsibility I give to Nigel Gibbs, when I came I wanted to change to zonal marking from corners and we implemented that.

"It is his responsibility on the training ground and in the team meetings to get the team organised so he deserves credit, as do the players."

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Celebration was for the fans - Clement

No pressure at Hull

Clement believes Swansea's recent revival, which saw Clement named Premier League manager of the month, has given his side a big advantage this weekend, with the pressure all on the hosts as the two sides meet at the KCOM Stadium.

"Yeah I think so, playing at home, six points behind us, I think the pressure is on them," he told BBC Wales Sport.

"We have to use that to our advantage and be tactically very well set up and not be surprised by how the game might unfold.

"We are clearly in a more advantageous position than they are. We are going for a win, but a point would be a good result."

Paul Clement
Paul Clement takes a training session at Swansea City

A new set of rules

Clement, a former school teacher, has installed a new set of rules at the Swans, but feels the players have been more than receptive to a more structured approach to discipline, with issues such as tidying the dressing room and not wearing hats to meals being addressed.

"Those are just normal things for me, they are nothing dramatic or spectacular," he said.

"These are things I have learnt over time that I believe in and the players have been brilliant. They have welcomed it, I think they wanted it. I do not know what happened before, I did not even ask. I just said that this is how I went things and they have done it, they have implemented it.

"The biggest rule is respect. Respect for each other, respect for everyone who works at the club. We are all at the same level."

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