LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - New Swansea City boss Paul Clement began their relegation battle at Crystal Palace as an observer in the stands, yet ended the encounter barking out pitchside instructions and celebrating a crucial victory.
The former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid assistant had only been appointed a few hours before the match at Selhurst Park and caretaker Alan Curtis was officially in charge.
Clement, however, came down to deliver a halftime team talk and would have seen plenty to encourage him as his side fought back from conceding a late leveller to snatch a 2-1 victory thanks to substitute Angel Rangel’s winner.
“The new manager coming in is a huge part of it, it gives people a real lift,” Curtis told reporters.
”Paul came down and made a real positive contribution. He came into dressing room before the game and in at halftime and at the end and played a part in the substitutes.
“There’s nothing better for any player than a new manager in the stands looking at you.”
Swansea went to Selhurst Park bottom of the table and on the back of a four-game losing streak. They had the joint worst defensive record in the league, which had ultimately brought about the end Bob Bradley’s tenure last week.
Alfie Mawson’s header moments before the break had given Swansea the lead but Palace dominated the second half before Wilfred Zaha’s acrobatic volley in the 83rd minute drew them level.
Rangel was brought on after consultation between Curtis and Clement and he found the net in the 88th minute to lift the Swans off the foot of the table above Hull City.
“Paul has come into the club because he feels we can get out of trouble,” added Curtis.
”He had a fantastic job at Bayern Munich working with some of the best players in the world, but he wanted the challenge of coming to us. I said to him that if I were him I’d have stayed where he was.
”I think people who have only seen our results would have been surprised by the way we played tonight, especially in the first half when we were really good.
“And I think Paul would probably have been surprised himself at how well we played.” (Editing by Toby Davis)