Fernando Llorente: Paul Clement backs Swansea City striker after criticism

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport
Fernando Llorente
Fernando Llorente, in action against Watford, is Swansea's top scorer this season with 11 goals

Swansea City head coach Paul Clement has defended top scorer Fernando Llorente following criticism of the striker's work ethic.

A Match of the Day graphic showed Llorente sprinted less than 20 metres in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Watford.

Clement revealed the Spaniard was not fully fit and said that, according to Swansea's data analysts, Llorente sprinted "zero metres" at Watford.

"He's not that kind of player," said Clement.

He continued: "If I want a player up there sprinting, running in behind all the time, it would not be Fernando.

"Having spoken to him after the game - it's too late after the game - but he didn't feel at his best and that's obviously had an impact on the way he played.

"They [Match of the Day] are taking their data from one source but our data is from the GPS unit - players wear them in the back of their shirts.

Fernando Llorente and Paul Clement
Fernando Llorente, pictured with Paul Clement, joined Swansea from Sevilla in 2016

"It's very difficult to look at physical statistics in isolation. The most Fernando has done in a game since I've been here is 65 metres sprinting.

"He needs to be in the right place at the right time, he needs the right service, he needs to help us link play so we can build it up through the pitch and he is determined to do that."

Speaking on Match of the Day, former England midfielder Frank Lampard suggested Llorente's body language was negative at Watford.

The defeat was Swansea's fifth in six games, leaving them in the Premier League relegation zone and two points adrift of safety.

Clement rues Swans 'missed opportunity'

The Spain international forward was returning from injury at Vicarage Road and, after confirming he would be fit to face Stoke on Saturday, Clement defended Llorente against the insinuation he does not care.

"People show their emotions in all different ways," said the former Bayern Munich assistant manager.

"That figure [sprinting] would not have been mentioned if we had won the game or played better. The figure he hit at Liverpool, when he scored two goals and he won away, was zero metres sprinting.

"People show their emotions in all different ways. There's no way people can know what's going on inside of me when I'm on the side of the pitch, how I'm feeling. It's the same for any of the players."

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