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Wednesday 17 January 2018

Clement to unleash Mesa on Jose's hurting United

Swansea v Man Utd Live Sky Sp Main Event, 7.45

Jose Mourinho. Pic: PA
Jose Mourinho. Pic: PA

Paul Clement has declared Roque Mesa has a long-term Swansea future after confirming that the Spaniard will start tonight's League Cup tie against Jose Mourinho (inset) and his Manchester United side.

Midfielder Mesa was an eye-catching £11million summer arrival from Las Palmas given that his pass completion rate of 91.4 per cent was ranked as the fourth highest in LaLiga last season.

But the 28-year-old has started only once in the Premier League - against United in a 4-0 home defeat in August - and raised question marks over his future during a weekend newspaper interview.

Mesa told Spanish publication Estadio Deportivo that he could return home "if within two months I continue without having minutes", although he said on his official Twitter account on Monday that he would not surrender.

He signed a four-year deal in July and, asked if Mesa's long-term future was at Swansea, head coach Clement replied: "Absolutely, that will be very much judged on how he performs over time.

"That is the same with all players. They sign contracts, in his case a long-term contract, and we want him here for that period.

Intensity

"The kind of player he is, knowing the style and culture he has come from, I understand LaLiga and the intensity there compared to this league.

"It is very different, but he is making gradual adjustments to his game and I am sure we are going to see some of those things." Mesa's last appearance at the Liberty Stadium came as a substitute in the 2-1 Premier League defeat to Watford last month.

His mistake led to the Hornets' last-minute winner, but Clement said that goal had nothing to do with absence from recent matchday squads.

"Some people have questioned why he is not playing, but it was not because of the mistake against Watford," Clement said.

"He has been getting up to speed with things and I have told him he is going to start against United.

"He has been training hard and he deserves a chance in the team."

Swansea go into the last-16 tie on the back of Saturday's 2-1 loss to Leicester - their fourth home defeat this term.

"In this climate we are lacking confidence at home," Clement said.

"I don't blame supporters for that. It's down to us and I've told the players that only those in our group can sort it out."

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