Confident and capable: how Paul Clement saved Swansea City | Stuart James

Manager inherited a mess from Bob Bradley in early January but said he would change things and duly ensured Premier League survival with a game to spare

When Paul Clement was appointed in January by Swansea City, one of the questions at his first press conference was framed around the club’s dire predicament, specifically what made the third manager to take charge in as many months think that relegation was not a formality for a team anchored to the bottom of the table with the worst defensive record in the division.

To give a fuller picture of just how bleak things were at the time, Swansea had lost their previous four league matches – against West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough, West Ham United and Bournemouth – conceding 13 times during a woeful run that poured fuel on the fire of the supporter unrest that had been simmering since the takeover in the summer. Swansea, in other words, were in a mess on and off the field, and Clement could have been forgiven for thinking he was better off staying away. Not only did he have a high-profile position in Germany, where he was working as Carlo Ancelotti’s No2 at Bayern Munich, but he was also entitled to feel that the time to take the Swansea job was in October, when Francesco Guidolin was sacked. The calamitous decision to appoint Bob Bradley instead – Swansea’s owners felt that experience was needed in the dressing room – meant Clement was being asked to clear up the mess that two men had left behind when the American was sacked after 85 days.

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