Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has expressed his disappointment at Paul Clement leaving the club for Swansea City earlier this month.
Clement had been working as assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti since July, helping Bayern to the top of the Bundesliga as they target a fifth successive title.
Friday night was the first time this season that Clement had been absent from the Bayern bench as Ancelotti’s side travelled to Freiburg.
Two goals from Robert Lewandowski saw the champions scrape a 2-1 victory in temperatures of minus nine degrees, with Neuer telling The Set Pieces after the game that he was sorry to see Clement depart.
“It’s a shame for us that he’s not here any more but of course I can understand Paul Clement’s view that he wanted to accept the offer from the Premier League,” said Neuer.
“We know that he was a great guy, who helped us a lot as a team. He took on a lot of responsibility [at Bayern], he talked a lot with the players and I think he’ll be able to help Swansea.”
Neuer’s support for Clement was backed up by his maiden victory in charge of Swansea on Saturday. Having been drubbed by Arsenal in the previous match, Clement’s side became the first team to win at Anfield this season as they edged a pulsating encounter against Liverpool 3-2.
The result lifted Swansea off the bottom of the table and out of the relegation zone for the first time in over a month.
“We are all keeping our fingers crossed for him now that he’s taking up a role as a head coach in the Premier League,” added Neuer.
His sentiments were echoed by Lewandowski, who scored a brilliant winner right at the death against Freiburg.
Going to put this out there: Robert Lewandowski is quite good. That and a few more thoughts from Freiburg after Bayern Munich's 2-1 win. pic.twitter.com/z4LmTf77Pr
— Archie Rhind-Tutt (@archiert1) January 20, 2017
The Polish striker revealed that he hadn’t worked much with Clement before the start of the season, but acknowledged his role in Bayern’s improving form.
“I was only in training for eight days [after the Euros] and then went straight to a game,” said Lewandowski. “Now [Clement and the players] were able to work slightly more closely together and I hope that our form continues on an upward curve and stays there.”
Compared to the past four seasons, Bayern have endured a challenging first half of the campaign with promoted RB Leipzig proving to be their surprise title rivals.
They have also found the Champions League tougher going, finishing second in Group D behind Atletico Madrid, who also triumphed against Bayern in the semi-finals of last year’s competition.
With Clement now replacing Bob Bradley at Swansea, Ancelotti will prepare his team for the last-16 tie against Arsenal in February.