Paul Clement singles out Swansea's meeting with Stoke as a 'must win'
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 15/04/17 7:17pm
With five games left to preserve their Premier League status, Paul Clement says Swansea must beat Stoke next weekend.
Watford's narrow victory at Vicarage Road on Saturday meant the Swans are without a win since the beginning of March, the latest blow in their freefall after the early promise they had shown when Clement took over at the turn of the year.
While they held their own for large swathes of the game, it was an individual error from Alfie Mawson that proved fatal when Etienne Capoue robbed the ball from the young defender's feet and volleyed past Lukasz Fabianski at the second attempt.
And though Clement saw positives emanating from the game, he found an equal amount of mistakes, and he admitted that Swansea's attacking threat was less than potent at Vicarage Road.
He told Sky Sports: "The performance was better, the battling spirit was there and defensively we were sound - the goal has come from an individual mistake and it was very easy to see what happened.
"We created enough forward momentum to get into their defensive third and create opportunities, but really we didn't have that clinical edge that we had at the start of January and into February, where we were converting the chances that we got. We probably created a lot more chances than in a lot of games today but we just couldn't capitalise on those."
The result leaves Swansea two points below Hull City - who occupy 17th place - and Clement now admits that his previously optimistic outlook on his side's relegation fears has subsequently been altered by the result in Hertfordshire.
"There are very fine margins at this level. All the games that I've been involved with since I've been here at Swansea, the margins are very fine. We've got to hope now in the last five games that we can just makes those margins fall in our favour.
"I think previously that I've said no, these aren't must-wins games - they're important games - but my belief now is that the game against Stoke is an absolutely must-win game. I know that, the players know that.
"The fans - who supported us fantastically well today - are obviously going home disappointed and we're very sad for them but we really need them behind us. The game against Stoke next weekend at the Liberty Stadium is possibly the biggest game for Swansea in the last few years.
"I think three wins out of five are probably going to be necessary, maybe even a draw in one of the other two. We're at that stage now where every game is a huge, huge game."