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Clement: "We're On The Up Again"

Credit: Swansea City

Swansea City's spirits have finally following a 2-0 Premier League win over Stoke at the Liberty.

Paul Clement believes the momentum is back with Swansea City after they delivered in their must-win clash against Stoke City.

The battling Swans ended their six-game winless streak with what in the end was a comfortable 2-0 victory.

But the final score did not tell the whole story of a game which the Swans led from the 10th minute after Fernando Llorente headed home from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s corner.

Stoke looked set to come back into the contest when Federico Fernandez was adjudged to have brought down Xherdan Shaqiri in the penalty area midway through the second half.

But Marko Arnautovic blazed the resulting spot-kick over the crossbar, and just 60 seconds later the Swans doubled their lead.

Tom Carroll was the goalscorer, although there was a big deflection off Liberty old boy Joe Allen on the 25-yard shot which sailed over Jack Butland and into the net.

Tom Carroll

“I feel as though the momentum is with us again,” Clement said. 

“We feel more positive – it’s a vibrant dressing room in there. 

“The players have put in a good shift physically. Tactically and technically they played well and hopefully this will give us that impetus we need to go and finish the season strongly.

“This is the first time I have called a game must-win and I was right. Hull have won their game at home and I was sure they would do that.

“If we hadn’t won, the gap would have been very difficult for us to close with four games to go.” 

Hull’s 2-0 victory over Watford means the Swans remain two points adrift of the safety line.

Fernando Llorente

Middlesbrough, meantime, are seven points behind Clement’s side in 19th after they lost at Bournemouth, although they do have a game in hand.

Though his team remain in the relegation places – and face a trip to Manchester United next – Clement hopes the Swans have turned a corner.

“The points difference has not changed for us and we are a game closer to the end of the season, but what has changed is that we have put that bad run of form behind us,” he added.

“We had not been performing but that has changed today. 

“That’s important psychologically. The next game is a huge test, but we have got our confidence back – not just because we have won the game but because of the nature of the win.

“We played very well, especially in the first half. We had a bit of luck with the missed penalty, although I have watched it back four times and I still can’t decide if it is a penalty or not.

Jordan Ayew

“But the miss was our bit of luck and then there was a deflection on the second goal. We have not had that much go our way since I have been here, but it did in that little moment and that gave us the win.

“Hull are still in the driving seat because they won as well, but we are right there breathing down their necks and we are going to try to keep it that way until the end of the season.”

Clement revealed that despite being withdrawn in the 59th minute, Llorente was not injured.

“I made the change based on the way he was feeling at half-time, but there is no injury,” he explained.

“At that point I made a tactical change as well. I wanted an extra defender to help deal with the aerial threat of (Peter) Crouch and we wanted our wide defenders to press higher up the pitch because the formation we were playing was allowing Stoke space out wide.”

Ki Sung-Yueng

Leroy Fer came off in the first half with a dead leg, though Clement is hopeful the Dutchman will soon be okay to return to action.

The Swans head coach had a special word of praise for Leon Britton, who lasted 85 minutes as he featured for the first time in 2017.

“I really looked to him to help the team today and he did that brilliantly,” Clement said.

“He played with a lot of maturity and he ran himself into the ground. It was a real captain’s performance from him.”

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