Swansea boss Paul Clement set for 'special' Stamford Bridge return

24 February 2017 01:54

Swansea head coach Paul Clement admits it will be special when he returns to Stamford Bridge but insists it does not provide him with any extra motivation.

Clement's coaching career started with Chelsea's academy 22 years ago and he worked his way up through the ranks across two stints before becoming assistant manager during Carlo Ancelotti's tenure.

His time in south-west London coincided with a golden period in Chelsea's history as silverware was secured on a regular basis, including a league and cup double under Ancelotti and Clement in 2010.

Saturday's game will be the first time he has returned there to coach against his former employers, and on paper it appears a daunting task given Chelsea top the table and have lost just one of their last 19 top-flight fixtures.

It will be a moment the 45-year-old will briefly allow himself to savour before the serious business begins.

"It is special, I am looking forward to going back," said the Swansea head coach.

"I had two spells there, from 1995 to 2000 when I was part time and then from 2007 to 2011 when I was full time.

"The last two years were memorable working with Carlo (Ancelotti), and I won the double under Guus (Hiddink) which is very rare. I am in touch with some people at the club and it will be nice to see them.

"Before my time there and after, they have recruited good managers and coaches with experience who are winners, and have continued to invest in the team.

"This team is different to when I was there. John Terry and David Luiz and Nemanja Matic are the ones I know. But they always evolve and invest and, when you get good managers and good players, it is a good mix."

Chelsea may be champions-elect in the eyes of many but Swansea's ambitions are far more humble.

Clement has dug them out of trouble with four wins in six games, a run that has seen them clamber off the foot of the table to now lie four points clear of the drop zone.

However, much work remains to be done over the final 13 games of the season if the Swans are to enjoy a seventh-straight season in the Premier League.

Clement insists a game at his old stomping ground is not about him proving anything to anyone in Chelsea colours.

"Whoever we play, I want to win, it does not matter if it is Chelsea or Burnley next week," he said.

"I worked there for so many years, and to go and coach against them is an honour. I am excited, as are the players and (assistant coach) Claude (Makelele).

"They are in strong position but they will not think the title race is over just yet, and the teams behind them will not be thinking that, but they deserve to be where they are.

"In the two weeks since the Leicester game we have been fully focused on this. We did some analysis of Leicester on video and at the training ground, but otherwise all the focus has been on Chelsea.

"We have got more tactical information into the players, it has been a very valuable time with the free weekend.

"I have not had much time since I came here, my first day in the job we had a game and there has not been much let-up since. So we hope this time can help us produce another good performance against a very good side."

Source: PA


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