(Reuters) - Swansea City manager Paul Clement hopes that having a full pre-season with his side will help them start the 2017-18 Premier League campaign strongly and avoid another relegation scrap.
Clement joined Swansea in January, when they were bottom of the table, and led them out of the relegation zone with the team collecting 26 points from 18 games to finish 15th after four wins in their last five league matches.
The 45-year-old believes that his side will benefit from the opportunity to have a full pre-season as he can develop the team without the pressure of a relegation battle.
“The key to making sure we do not have the same sort is season is starting strongly,” Clement was quoted as saying by British media.
”Every game is important and we want a good tally by the halfway point so we can avoid this pressure and suffering we have had in the second half of last season.
“Pre-season will be important in that... We did not have time to do that in January because the pressure was on and it was so hectic. This gives us a less pressurised environment in which to do all those things.”
Clement also said that his team could reach Europe if they performed as well as they did in the latter half of last season.
“I have had half a season, I know the players and staff really well. I am familiar with the club and city as a whole, so we are not at zero. I have an advantage now,” Clement added.
“But we need to build and get better, build on what we have done. Twenty six points in half a season is impressive, do that over a season and you bang on the door of Europe.”
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis