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Swansea v Spurs - media view with Rob Phillips, BBC Wales

Posted on 5 April 2017  - 09:15

Rob Phillips is the voice of Welsh football for BBC Wales so who better to run the rule over Swansea ahead of this evening's match at the Liberty Stadium?

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rob Rob Phillips
Football Correspondent, BBC Wales

How would describe Swansea's form at the moment?
Rob: "I would say that they’ve lost momentum at the wrong time. Okay, there is no good time to lose momentum but this is an awful time to lose the momentum they gathered under Paul Clement. The ‘manager bounce’ really did work under him unlike when they sacked Francesco Guidolin and brought in Bob Bradley (October). Clement has given them real hope of staying up whereas there seemed no hope under Bradley. I was at the Hull game (1-2, March 11)) and Hull were tactically really smart, Marco Silva (Hull manager) played it the right way, Swansea also suffered a couple of injuries and they were without Kyle Naughton and Martin Olsson at Bournemouth (0-2, March 18)) and certainly missed them and then missed Fernando Llorente against Middlesbrough (0-0) on Sunday. He’s been key to their revival, scoring important goals. I would say that Swansea have the best player of any of the so-called relegation-threatened teams in Gylfi Sigurdsson, a player Spurs fans will know well and I would argue he and Llorente will potentially make the different in them staying up."

Below: Paul Clement

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What has been Paul Clement's impact since his arrival in January?
Rob: "Clement has brought a defensive organisation to the team, added key players, Martin Olsson has been a big success at left-back and Tom Carroll as added real vitality and dynamism to the midfield, that was missing. Clement’s also brought the best out of Llorente. To think, there were times in previous regimes where Llorente couldn’t make the starting line-up. Sigurdsson has been real quality throughout, a talismanic figure but most of all, Clement has brought a drive and determination to the team, up to the last few games."

Below: Gylfi Sigurdsson

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The big question - do you feel Swansea will stay up?
Rob: "I do, yes. Clement has improved the team defensively and although they still have the worst defensive record in the Premier League, a lot of the damage was done before he got there. They’ve not been taken apart since he’s arrived in the way Spurs tore apart Bradley’s side earlier in the season (5-0 at the Lane, December 3). I just think the presence of Llorente and Sigurdsson gives them the quality that certainly other teams would value."

Below: Ben Davies

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You know Ben Davies well from covering Wales...
Rob: "People talk about the absence of Aaron Ramsey being key in the European Championship semi-final last summer but people tend to underestimate the fact that Ben was also missing. He was, with Ramsey, the most consistent Wales player at the Euros, and that says everything. I’m so glad he’s getting a run of games. It’s a shame for Danny Rose, but everyone in Wales is really pleased for Ben."

Below: Fernando Llorente

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Finally, how do you see it going tonight?
Rob: "The way Paul Clement was talking it looks unlikely Llorente will start. The hope I have is that they can do what they did against Liverpool (January 21). No-one expected them to do anything at Anfield but they ended up with a 3-2 win. They will probably have to play even better than that against Spurs and without sitting on the fence, I would snap your hand off for a draw now! I was at the Lane when Tottenham turned it on against Swansea in December and they were just ferocious that day. I’m sure any Swansea fan would settle for a point now!"