Clement Disagrees That Subs Were "Defensive" at Southampton
Paul Clement has defended the substitunions that he made during Saturday`s goalless draw at Southampton.
The Swansea City head coach received a lot of criticism from the fans for taking off striker Tammy Abraham, and bringing on defender Kyle Bartley. The substitution immediately came across as a defensive one, as Clement seemingly looked to add another defender on to the pitch, to help them see out a draw and get a point on the opening day of the season.
It was a performance that you could look at from two different perspectives. A match that we`d have lost in recent seasons - something that Clement commented on during his post-match press conference - and it was a point gained.
On the flip side though, it was a negative, uninspiring performance that we were very fortunate to get a point from. 0 shots on target, 2 shots in total without counting another 2 that were blocked, whilst conceding 18 shots, and another 11 blocked - and two clear cut chancues that the hosts should have put away to claim all three points.
The fans` frustrations were already built up prior to the subs. The performance was poor, and we lacked an attacking outlet. Therefore, the substitution - taking Abraham off for Bartley, immediately came across as negative - like we were giving up in trying to score a goal.
However, Paul Clement disagreed, insisting that not only was it a personnel change, but a shape change too - as he switched from a defensive 4-5-1 system to a 3-5-2 "with wing backs".
Clement later added McBurnie to the mix, who joined Ayew up top - which Clement said added another striker to the system, making it "more offensive".
"I don`t necessarily see it as negative, we got another body up the pitch initially and then Oli McBurnie came on. I felt it was a more offensive shape.
"The fans see a striker for a defender but, if you look a bit more closely, was it really a defensive change?
"What the fans saw was a striker coming off and a defender coming on, so they saw it as a defensive change.
"But there was a shape change in that as well, and we sent a striker on for a number 10 shortly after so it was more offensive."
Clement also said that it was the sort of sub he would make again, to ensure his team pick up points, and to avoid having regrets over not making these decisiono that he felt would help his side.
What was your take on the performance and result at Southampton on Saturday? Was it a point gained and a clean sheet being a positive, or are you more concerned at our negative style and lack of attacking outlet? Let us know what you think via the article comments below.