December 2, 2017 / 6:46 PM / a year ago

Swansea back where they started under Clement

(Reuters) - Paul Clement admitted his struggling Swansea City side deserved to be bottom of the Premier League after squandering an early lead to lose 2-1 at Stoke City, a result that leaves the manager under intense pressure.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Stoke City vs Swansea City - bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Britain - December 2, 2017 REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Crystal Palace’s goalless draw at West Bromwich Albion meant Swansea are now in exactly the same position as when Clement took over from Bob Bradley last January, with some supporters calling for Clement’s dismissal.

“I believe we’ve gone bottom of the table today and I can’t say we’re unlucky,” said Clement, whose side are four points from safety. “We’ve lost 10 games now and it’s not been through misfortune.

“We deserve to be bottom because we’re losing too may games and we’re not consistent enough.

“We are alright Monday to Friday, but that’s not what it’s about, is it? I can control the line-up, what we do in training, how we communicate that to the players. But clearly that isn’t working at the moment and I have to find other ways,” he added.

The 45-year-old insisted “the only way is up” but he faces a struggle to spark a similar revival as last season when Swansea rallied to finish 15th, seven points clear of the drop.

Their only bright spot on Saturday was that Wilfried Bony scored Swansea’s first goal in more than seven hours of often turgid football.

“We’ve scored a goal, we’ve scored a goal”, the visiting fans sang in celebration after previously seeing their side go four games without even registering a shot on target.

Only three sides have scored fewer goals than Swansea’s eight at this stage of a Premier League season. Derby (2007-08), Bradford (2000-01) and Manchester City (1995-96) all ended up relegated.

Swansea’s owners, who sacked two managers last season before turning to Clement, must decide whether to make Clement the sixth top-tier manager to lose his job this season or stick with him ahead of next week’s crucial game against West Brom.

American Bradley was dismissed after a run of eight points in 11 games; Clement has got nine points from his 15 games this season.

Waiting in the wings is Welshman Tony Pulis, the former Albion manager who has been linked with a quick return to the Premier League but is not renowned for encouraging teams to score more.

Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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