Swansea City: Fitter, sharper Wilfried Bony pleases coach Clement

Wilfried Bony
Wilfried Bony has played more than 50 internationals for the Ivory Coast

Swansea City are beginning to reap the benefit of Wilfried Bony's return to fitness, says head coach Paul Clement.

Bony, 29, has scored in successive games with his late winner against West Bromwich Albion lifting the Swans off the foot of the Premier League.

The Ivorian returned to Swansea in August, but had not scored until the 2-1 defeat by Stoke on 3 December.

"Step by step you can see he is getting fitter and sharper and now the goals are starting to come," said Clement.

Bony scored 29 League and Cup goals in his first spell with Swansea before being sold to Manchester City in a deal worth £28m in January 2015.

But he managed just six goals with City - and another two while on loan at Stoke - in a difficult two years before returning to the Swans for £12m.

Clement believes Swansea are beginning to see signs of the old Bony whose goals helped the club finish eighth in the 2014-15 Premier League season.

"It was a fantastic finish early in the game against Stoke, really a top class striker's goal," said Clement.

"And what a big moment to score in the game on Saturday, the stage the game was at, the pressure that was on us to get the result.

"It was an absolutely clinical finish."

Clement added Bony will line up against Manchester City on Wednesday with a point to prove after his disappointing spell at the club.

"I asked him if he wanted a rest for Wednesday's game. You can imagine the reaction I got," he said.

Asked about Bony's motivation ahead of the home clash with Manchester City, Clement said: "11 out of 10, I would say - high!

"He went to Manchester City and did not get to the level he would have liked, the same at Stoke.

"So he has a point to prove to lots of people."

Nicolas Otamendi scores Manchester City's second goal against Manchester United
Nicolas Otamendi volleyed in the winner for Manchester City against Manchester United

Making it difficult for Man City

After a first win in eight league games, Swansea face a Manchester City side 11 points clear at the top of the table after beating second-placed Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The result also saw Pep Guardiola's team set a Premier League record of 14 consecutive wins in the same season.

Clement believes City's rivals will find them difficult to catch.

"If they continue to play how they are I think it will be very difficult to catch them, but there are lots of game to go.

"Can they maintain that level of consistency? Can they continue to score 86-87-95 and 96th minute winners?

"In those situations the margins are very very tight and that can swing the other way.

"The main thing is when they come here on Wednesday and we have the opportunity to go there as well and make it as difficult as we can for them."

Swans injury concerns

Winger Wayne Routledge is a doubt for Wednesday's game after suffering muscle tightness against West Brom.

Clement also has to decide whether to recall centre back Federico Fernandez. The Argentine international was on the bench last Saturday having missed three games following the death of his father.

Centre back Kyle Bartley is close to a return from knee ligament damage. He is back in training and it's hoped he will make an under-23 outing soon.