Belfast Telegraph

Alan Curtis pays tribute to new Swansea boss Paul Clement's influence

Swansea caretaker manager Alan Curtis credited Paul Clement with giving Swansea's players a "huge lift" before their crucial 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace.

Clement was appointed the club's new head coach just hours before kick-off. He watched much of the game from the stands and will officially manage his first match against Hull on Saturday, but also spoke to his new squad before kick-off and at half-time, in addition to joining Curtis on the touchline.

Playing with greater intensity and confidence than they have long shown, Swansea secured only their fourth Premier League victory of the season to climb to 19th when Angel Rangel's 88th-minute finish restored their lead after Wilfried Zaha's volley appeared to have ensured a 1-1 draw. Alfie Mawson's first-half header had given the visitors a deserved lead, with 17th-placed Palace again poor during their third game under Sam Allardyce.

Asked who had made Swansea's second-half substitutions, the 62-year-old Curtis replied: "I did. (But) we were struggling (with injuries).

"Paul came down, he made a real positive contribution. Met him the first time this afternoon, (he) came in the dressing room to talk to the players prior to the game, and also came down at half-time, then right at the end there, and was involved in the substitutes as well.

"There's nothing better for any player, having a new manager in the stands. I told the players starting, 'You've the first chance to impress'. You've got a new manager in, it's going to give a huge lift to everyone."

Curtis was also asked to what extent Clement was involved at half-time, and he said: "He came down, he took an active part in it, he took it from the off.

"It probably wasn't the hardest talk at half-time, we played really well. But he made the players aware that the second half was going to be completely different, that Palace would come at us, which they did. He made a real positive contribution.

"That's why he took the job (because he believes he can survive). He said he had the security of a fantastic job at Bayern Munich, some of the world's top players, top of the league, Champions League, but he wanted the challenge.

"I told him if I was him I would have stayed there. He probably would have been surprised himself about how well we played, but we've got to take it on from here now."

The result means Allardyce has taken only one point from his first three fixtures since succeeding Alan Pardew as Palace manager, leaving them just one above the bottom three.

They were again as unconvincing as in Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal, but the manager was critical of referee Paul Tierney for not giving them a first-half penalty despite goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski not appearing to make contact with Christian Benteke when the striker went down, and one in the second when he felt Rangel had handled the ball.

"Fatigue (is the main reason for our performance)," said the 62-year-old. "Not having enough recovery time compared to Swansea.

"The referee blatantly allows the goalkeeper to stay on the pitch and doesn't give us a penalty, so the referee's to blame, but we can't control the referee.

"That performance in the first half just wasn't good enough. I have to take a bit of responsibility - picking almost the same team (just two days after losing at Arsenal) was the wrong thing for me to do.

"(This is proving) a bigger challenge, after three games, than I expected.

"Then we had another really poor decision on the handball (by Rangel) from the referee, in the box. It's been a very, very difficult night for us all."

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