Philippe Clement has spoken to the media ahead of the fixture with Motherwell. Here is what he had to say.

How are John Lundstram and Kemar Roofe?

Both are not available for Sunday. To say how long is difficult for the moment. It is quite early after this game. We need to analyse the scans and get the results and those things so we cannot say much more for now.

Is there a hope that it might not be longer term for them?

I always have hope but I need to get the results from the scans. There is nothing more to say for the moment.

Could we see anyone else returning for Sunday?

No. Nobody will return.

Could we see Sterling in midfield again?

There are not a lot of options but every game we look at the best option. What the players have done is that if they’re playing in a position they’re not used to, they’re giving their best. If people have to play in a position they know what they have to do. There are several players who have done a really important job for the team and we have to continue that.

What are your thoughts about playing on Christmas Eve?

It’s because of broadcast. In Belgium we used to play 26th and it was the last game before the winter break so it’s not something new. I love football so I don’t mind there being a lot of football, even if it is a heavy schedule and the players are coping well.

How important is it to keep the mentality at the top level?

It’s crucial that the mentality stays good because if the mentality drops everything else drops as well. To win this marathon you need to be consistent. There will be moments when we lose points, I’m not naïve but we always have to chase the three points – and also in the way we want to do it. We don’t want to play negative football, not just play counter-attacks but being dominant. That’s the football I want to see. If the players aren’t playing their best position, they’re still doing the job. It’s a hectic period but we have a break coming and a winter camp coming which will be really interesting for me, to work more with the team, to speak more with the team, with individuals as well. Then you have the transfer window as well.

How disappointed is Kemar and what have you said to him?

The most disappointing is for him, because he’s doing everything to avoid it. He felt really good and we’re not assessing what the reason is and looking deeply into detail. We want to find solutions for him. Everybody is really disappointed for him because it’s the worst thing for him.

Does this change your plans for January in terms of that position?

We’ll discuss in the club. Firstly we will see the situation with Kemar and how long he will be out. It was a big blow because he’s so hungry to come in and get his minutes. It was the moment to start he was waiting for. I understand why he was disappointed because I also had moments like that in my career. It feels like the sky has dropped on your head at that moment so now we will look for solutions.

How do you keep the injured players involved?

They’re always in the meetings so I want them involved that way. They understand what we’re doing right and wrong, they’re not six weeks out then they step back in. They have the same importance to me. Whether they start, or not playing, or are injured, we’re one family together. We win and lose together and players who are important now may not be in a few months if they’re injured, and others who are injured now can be very important in a few weeks. It’s about doing the maximum to get the best results together.

You said on Wednesday that John had been kicked off the pitch, is that a longer term frustration you have had since you have been in Scottish football?

To be honest, not. I didn’t see a difference from other leagues. I said something after that game and I said also that I was boiling because everyone has seen the tackle on John. It is a red card and the red card is given. You are not happy that one of your players is kicked off the field. I said also after the game that Kieran Dowell was really lucky. I don’t know if you guys looked back at that image that was even worse than the red card on Lundstram. So it was about that and for the rest of the game, nothing to say about crazy tackles or crazy things that happened on the pitch. I don’t want to say that Motherwell or another team or Scottish league is more brutal or whatever. But the action with Kieran Dowell I saw after the game and can be sure. I saw it from the bench already but when I see it afterwards, it is a very dangerous tackle. If his foot is on the ground his leg is broken. That I want to avoid. I want to avoid that with my players, I think every manager wants avoid that with his players also. If I see a tackle like that on my team, that player is in trouble also. I don’t want to see these tackles and I think everybody who loves football doesn’t want to see it.

It is not an overriding problem in Scottish football?

No, no. I don’t think so. I don’t see a difference with France, with Belgium or with the Premier League.

How pleased are you with the defence right now?

It is important. We have a lot of clean sheets. If you have clean sheets you are really close to winning games. With the way we are playing, we will always create chances. We will always have chances to score goals so we are close to the three points. For me the most important things is that the players understand that with a more offensive way of playing we defend also better and that they understand what to do. Of course there have been some mistakes and we have had goals against that we could have avoided but I see also the players really concentrated to not do it two times or three times. It is not about the defence or Jack, who is also a really good goalkeeper, but also the work that the midfield is doing, the work that the strikers are doing. It is a team effort.

That must be pleasing given the changes in midfield?

That is crucial in football, that we keep a good structure all the time. And that the players understand. It is because of them because they are really focused in every meeting to do the right things and be focused every day to do the right things together. All the praise is towards them.

How far down the road are you with January signings?

It is simple in that way, as long as there are no signings then you can be as far down the road as you want, you don’t know how long the road is. As long as nobody is in the building and there are no medical exams made and the paper is not signed then you are nowhere. It is always like that. I have seen things go really fast in the past, sometimes you think everything is OK and another team gets the player in the last seconds. Those things happen. We will see. At the moment, something is signed, I can promise you guys that one second later you will know.

Do you have a target in mind over how many you would like to bring in?

The first point is that it is not my mind, it is our mind. Those are decisions that we make together with the board and that we discuss, and those are interesting discussions! We have the same mindset for January, all of us. Everybody is going to go full to reach our goal in that way, like we do in every game and ask every game to the players. We will see if we can reach our goal about that. You never have guarantees but everyone is working really hard.

Nick Montgomery will have a microphone on during a game, what are your thoughts?

No. I am saying things during the game to my players that I don’t want other teams to hear. For me it is not a good idea. Or I speak with my staff about images I want during half-time or what I want to do. And sometimes I also say things that are less nice! It is better not to do that.

Will the squad be in on Christmas Day?

We will be. We will have training or recovery.

What do you expect from Motherwell?

I expect everything. We always prepare the team for different scenarios, not for one. I don’t want my team to be surprised in whatever way. It doesn’t matter what is the plan on the other side, we will be ready to do what we have to do. It is about small details that are different but I always try to prepare my team for every scenario.