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Clarke On Cardiff Defeat

Read the gaffer's thoughts on a disappointing defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

It's been a tough week for the Royals and after a disappointing result on Tuesday, yesterday was not much better. A 2-0 defeat to the hands of Cardiff City finished this week on a frustrating note.

Poor defending from two set plays undid the Royals with goals from Kenwyne Jones and Matt Connolly. Steve Clarke told the Official club website, "We're obviously disappointed to lose what was a fairly even game. There was nothing in it in the first half but we conceded two goals from set plays, and after that it wouldn't go in the net for us.

"Their goalkeeper was man of the match and I think that says a lot - for him to be so outstanding, then we must have been quite a threat going forward. And on another day, we would have got something from the game.

"The first goal was always going to be crucial in a tight game like today's and that's how it proved. The free kick that led to the first goal was a soft one for me, and we got punished heavily for that.

"We didn't defend the set plays well, where we have normally. It was a good header, but we have to look at it and see how Kenwyne Jones managed to get in front of the man and score a header.

"Near the start of the second half we conceded again from another set play. It's not like us. They are quite a big team and they can get their heads on the ball, but it was too clean a header with no challenge on him.

"From there the response was good, we had to make the pitch very wide, and the game became open - and we had lots of chances but their goalkeeper made a lot of good saves.

"I've got to credit the players, they kept chasing, they kept trying and on that basis I think we deserved something. Instead, it's a tough defeat."

GetReading reporter Charles Watts asked Clarke on how morale was in the dressing room after no wins in our last five, Clarke said: "We've got to be disappointed to lose but we can't be too down.

"We're not too far away. The team is OK in moments but we have to defend set plays better. if we did that against Cardiff we wouldn't have lost the game.

"It wasn't their system was better than our system or their players were better than our players. It was just a fact that they scored from their set plays, we didn't score from ours and their goalkeeper was man of the match."

It's now time for another international break - hopefully this time we will resume from where we left off before the last one! A number of the squad will be heading to represent their countries and we will resume in the Championship against Bolton on the 21st November. Clarke added: "We've stuttered over the last couple of weeks so we have to go away, analyse, and come up with a way of playing that gets us back on the winning trail.

"The last time the international break came around, it came at a bad time for us - we were on a good run, we had good momentum, we were playing well, picking up lots of points.

"This time, perhaps it has come at a good time for us. We can go away, take stock, reassess, get ready to go again and come back stronger."