Swansea City manager Paul Clement says relegation battle is with Hull City

Paul Clement
Clement is Swansea's third manager of the season

Swansea manager Paul Clement believes his side are in a two-team battle with with Hull City to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The Swans are 18th, a place and two points behind Hull, and Clement feels one of the two clubs will go down.

Asked whether he sees it as a straight fight between the Swans and Hull, Clement said: "As we sit here and speak about it, yes.

"But I don't know what the situation will be in three or four games."

Clement's change in thinking came after Crystal Palace's 3-0 home win over Arsenal that pulled the Eagles further clear of the bottom three.

After an initial improvement when Clement was appointed in January, the Swans have gone five games without a win to slide back into the bottom three, while Hull have moved out of the drop zone under Marco Silva.

Clement continued: "Mathematically if we won every game and they won every game, they are going to stay up and we are not.

"But the likelihood of that happening is actually very unlikely, based on where the teams are in the league.

"As for the teams just above us. Crystal Palace are gathering some momentum, but you can lose it quickly. And the fact is, though they have beaten Chelsea and Arsenal they still have a difficult run in.

"You cannot focus too much on what goes around us. You can take your eye off the ball and not deal with what you actually have a bit of control of, your own performances."

Reading the media 'can drive you crazy'

Clement believes his squad showed signs of tension in last Saturday's 1-0 defeat at West Ham United and he has urged his players to stay focussed.

"If you over think it and read all the media reports and listen to what the fans are saying it can drive you crazy," he said.

"Ultimately you are preparing for a game of football, you want to do well. Do your best and that's the advice I have been giving our players.

"I have always told them with the media, if you are going to listen to it and read it, like I do myself, don't get too excited when people are praising you and don't get too down when people are being critical."

The Swans will be without midfielder Jack Cork for the visit to Watford on Saturday as he is ruled out with an ankle injury.

Cork, who has been captain under Clement, will definitely miss the Watford match and is doubtful for the home game with Stoke City on 22 April.

Experienced midfielder Leon Britton, who has been on the bench but has yet to play under Clement, is vying with Jay Fulton for a recall to replace Cork.

"He has a lot of experience and what I have done with Leon, even if he has not been playing, I have tried to keep him close to the squad," Clement explained.

"Whether he's been on the bench or not. He has been a very positive influence.

"I know Leon wants to be playing, but he has shown a very professional attitude and putting the team absolutely ahead of his own thoughts and his own ideas. I like him a lot."

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC