Swansea City boss Paul Clement admits his side were “second best” putting in a performance he was “not proud of” in defeat to Newcastle.
Jamaal Lascelles’ second-half strike was the difference between the sides as United recorded their first win in the Premier League, away from home, since December 2015’s victory at Tottenham Hotspur.
And it’s fair to say the Swans manager was far from happy with his players’ performance.
Clement said: “Although the margin of the defeat is small I am more disappointed with our performance.
“I am not satisfied with the way we played – there was expectation going in to the game but we were second best in combats, duels, first and second balls, tactics, in all aspects.
“I take responsibility for it. It is a performance I am not proud of.”
Despite his players putting in a below par showing against a Rafa Benitez-less Magpies, Clement says it is he who foots the blame for the performance.
“It is collective responsibility and I am at the head of that,” he said.
“We had a positive week going in to it and I didn’t expect it. We had good training week and the meetings were good. The actual game, what I saw was nothing like I expected.
“We had a couple of good chances. On another day we could have got something out of it. They kept going but overall it wasn’t good enough.
“You have to reflect honestly whatever the result, looking at what we could have done better. I think there are a lot of things we could have done better.
“Newcastle were better than us.”
Pundits on Sky Sports were critical of the zonal system deployed by the Swans, with Lascelles rising highest in a crowded box to head home.
But Clement has leapt to the defence of the tactic.
He continued: “Any system can be undone whether it is man-to-man or zonal. Both have strengths and weaknesses. It worked well for us last season. We have conceded two from corners this season so the details aren’t right. We don’t need to change how we defend, just go about our defending in a better way.”