Paul Clement was as generous with the blame for Swansea City’s third straight home defeat as his players were with their defending.
The Swans lost 2-1 to Watford after Brazilian youngster Richarlison scored a 90th minute winner, just as Clement’s side appeared content to take a point from a game they began dreadfully, improved, before slumping again before the end.
Not many Premier League managers go with five at the back at home to Watford, but Clement chose to.
It resulted in Swansea going 1-0 behind to an Andre Gray goal, before Tammy Abraham equalised, having been central to a tactical re-shuffle at half-time.
Clement – who revealed he even considered making substitutions after half an hour – had sent on Roque Mesa and Abraham at half-time and dispensed with playing three central defenders.
“We played really poorly in the first half and I have to take responsibility for that because I chose the shape of the team,” Clement said.
“I chose the line-up and it proved to be incorrect, and I think I did the right thing to make the changes at half-time in terms of the shape and personnel.
“We took the initiative, had a lot more control of the game and got back in it.
“There looked like there was only one team who would go on and win it at that point.
“But in that position you must make sure you do not lose the game, and when I look back at their two goals they are gifts.”
“I was frustrated by individual performances, and myself for picking the wrong line-up and shape because when we changed it was better,” he added.
“I was very close to making the changes before half-time, but I wanted to use the interval to explain exactly what I wanted on the tactics board so I could get the message over more effectively.
“I told the players that when the supporters get on your back it is because they want you to do better and they are demanding of you, this fair enough.
“Then you have to show the character to play in difficult circumstances, to step up and keep asking for the ball rather than going into a shell and not be available to make a better passing option.
Clement had praised his players following their goalless draw against Tottenham at Wembley last weekend.
But he criticised them for the second consecutive home game after Richarlison punished Alfie Mawson’s timid tackle with a composed finish off the underside of the crossbar.
After the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle, Clement said he found it difficult to “understand what he saw”. This time, he said Swansea had “only played for 40 minutes”.
“I am very disappointed for the supporters, they have come here to see their side play three times at home and we have lost every game,” Clement said.
“On reflection that was a 95-minute game, but we only played for 40 minutes. That is not good enough.
“It is supposed to be easier at home, for some reason at the moment it is not. We played really well here at the end of last season.
“The crowd were disappointed with the first-half performance and I can understand that, I felt the same.”
Watford boss Marco Silva was delighted his side had quickly put last weekend’s 6-0 home defeat to Manchester City behind them.
“It was a tough afternoon last week, but it’s in the past,” Silva said.
“Our team showed they had forgotten what happened last Saturday, which was really important.
“We wanted three really important points and we’ve got our third win away in the Premier League, which is very difficult for a team like Watford.
“We started the game with some really nice football, we scored a goal and controlled the match well.
“But we needed to believe we could score the second to kill the match.
“If we’d have scored a second we could have been a bit more confident.”
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