Paul Clement: Swansea City boss says their next four games are crucial

By Michael PearlmanBBC Wales Sport
Swansea City celebrate a goal against Leicester City
Swansea City have won four of their seven matches since Paul Clement's appointment as manager

Swansea City boss Paul Clement says his players understand the importance of the club's next four fixtures as they bid to avoid Premier League relegation.

The Swans face Burnley at home before away games with Hull and Bournemouth and a visit from Middlesbrough.

"We are very aware that this a very crucial period this run of four games," Clement told BBC Wales Sport.

"It's really important. We've really spoken about that as a group this week. The importance of this block of games."

Swansea had just 12 points when Clement arrived to succeed Bob Bradley and become Swansea's third boss of the season, on 3 January, but they are now 16th and two points clear of the bottom three.

The Swans have won their last two matches at the Liberty, thanks to a 2-1 success over Southampton and a dominant 2-0 win against the Premier League champions, Leicester City, though they lost their last match 3-1 at Chelsea.

"Obviously the focus is on Burnley and not beyond that but we do know what's coming. It's a crucial period for us so that we can potentially avoid a nerve-racking end to the season," Clement continued.

"We have come off the back end of a difficult run of games having played Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea away and Arsenal here at home.

"We picked up a good amount of points in and around us and that is what we are going to have to do on Saturday."

Optimism around the Liberty

Paul Clement
Paul Clement returned to his former club Chelsea in Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge

Clement says his players are looking forward to a return to the Liberty Stadium, especially as he feels Swansea's supporters are becoming more hopeful after a run of results that saw Clement named Premier League manager of the month.

"The players are looking forward to playing at home and having a couple of good wins recently helps that atmosphere, helps the team, helps the fans as well. So we've got some positive energy going into the game," he said.

"I sense some optimism now, the supporters believe their team can stay at this level. Maybe that was not the case when I arrived so it is a very positive thing. We just have to make sure we go right to the very end and give it our very, very best."

Swansea's crucial run of fixtures begins against a Burnley side all but safe from relegation, but who have the worst away record in the Premier League, having picked up just two points on the road.

Knowing their opponents

Clement insists he is will not be taking Sean Dyche's side lightly regardless of the record on their travels this season.

"Our mentality going into this game is that it's a must-win game. That's our mentality. You can't control what the result is, just the performance. But the mentality going into it needs to be 'this is absolutely vital'," Clement said.

"We are not more confident of getting a result because of Burnley's away record, if anything; it makes you more worried that we can potentially be the place where they get that first win.

Swansea confidence not damaged - Clement

"We are very focused on making sure that does not happen."

The head coach says it is important his players do not allow any complacency to creep in as they face sides closer to the Swans in the table than they have in recent weeks.

"We try and prepare very thoroughly for every game, whoever we're playing against," he said. "But we are human beings and subconsciously, whether you're thinking about it or not, it's there that we are playing those four teams next and we're not playing Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool for example. So it's difficult to get away from that fact.

We're actually thinking about it the other way, as we're putting pressure on ourselves to get the results in these games."

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