Clement Frustrated & Disappointed After 'Missed Opportunity'
Swansea City boss Paul Clement said he was frustrated and disappointed with his side's performance in the 1-0 home defeat against Newcastle United.
Clement admitted that his players weren't at the level that he expects as they struggled to carve out chances against a well-drilled and organised Newcastle side, that was missing their manager Rafael Benitez due to hernia surgery.
The visitors were quick out of the blocks, and it was fast-paced start as they forced the Swans to play quickly - which prevented us from settling into a good passing rhythm.
We might have dominated possession with 62% in the game, but Newcastle were well organised and looked to take advantage on the counter attack, and they were able to pick off more decent efforts on target than we were.
Fabianski made the save of the match during the first half before Newcastle had a penalty appeal waved away for what was a clear dive.
Swansea's real chance to get on the scoresheet was when Abraham got in behind the defence, went around the goalkeeper but his shot was cleared off the line by the man who nodded home the winner direct from a corner.
Clement decided to switch to a diamond 4-4-2 system, having gone with a 3-5-2 in recent games. Sanches was given his debut and replaced Fer who was moved to a central attacking midfield role behind the two strikers, while Clucas started at the base of the diamond.
We had difficulty in penetrating Newcastle through the middle, and we were always outnumbered down the flanks as the full backs were often lacking support and outnumbered. Even when the likes of Sanches and Carroll were coming across in support, Newcastle had another player to prevent them from playing down the flanks or getting balls in behind their defence.
Again, we struggled to create chances for our front 2. Ayew was able to carve out a chance of two during the second half, but too often Abraham was shifting out to wide positions, leaving a lack of opportunities through the middle.
Clement was honest and critical of his side's performance, and said:
"I'm very disappointed with the way that we played because although the margin of defeat is very small, ultimately decided by a set-play, for me the difference in the two teams in the performance was much greater than that. I thought they were better than us.
"We made too many mistakes, we gave the ball away too often. Even right up to the end, where we did continue to push, we couldn't get a decent ball into the box. That wasn't good enough but our shape didn't cause them enough problems.
'We got the overload in midfield but we never got control of the game. Some of the basics we never got right, just that competitiveness.
"I said to the players in the dressing room, there's all the make-believe stuff, what's written on the paper and how we think it's going to go, and then there's the reality of what actually happens in the game. I think we missed an opportunity, I really do. They're a good, well-organised side but we should have done better, there's no question about that."
Clement added that his team now need to 'wake up':
"I said to players, there`s no crisis - we`ve not played well and we`ve lost a game. But it`s very early on, new faces have come in and need to be integrated as quick as possible.
"But we have to wake up quickly because this league is unforgiving. We have to reflect honestly on what happened, prepare well for Tottenham and then deliver - because we will have to play very well if we are to get anything there."