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Clarke On Brighton, Mackie And The Fans

Three points on a Tuesday night makes the rest of the week an absolute breeze! Jamie Mackie was hero of the evening at the Madejski last night with two superb goals against Brighton. Steve Clarke was a very happy man...

Martin Willetts/Getty Images

Clarke made five changes from the team that started at Bradford on Saturday and his side were dominant throughout.

Clarke told the Official Website and press:

"It’s a big win for us. We spoke long and hard before the game about replicating the desire and energy from the weekend, and getting a couple of goals, and we managed to do that tonight."

" Brighton were just below us in the league so it was important to get some distance between us and them, and more importantly to get a bigger gap away from the bottom three.

"We created a lot of chances, and at half time I felt we should have been out of sight, my one criticism was that we didn't come in comfortable and two, three, four goals ahead.

The second half started shakily for the Royals with Jake Cooper conceding what seemed to be a soft penalty, Clarke was concerned that with our recent run of form that the points would possibly slip away. The Scot said:

"You always have that feeling, when you’re not on a great run, a little nervous, and the referee gave a penalty that personally I felt was embarrassing, never a penalty.

"For five minutes we lost our way but we dug deep, showed resilience, came through and deservedly got the winning goal.

"I've made a number of changes in recent matches, when it doesn't come off I get criticised, so I’d like to think tonight one or two people will say well done on the changes, because it worked!

"Young Jake Cooper, he worked ever so hard for that chance to play. He also had a really, really good game, don’t be fooled by the soft penalty the referee gave.

Man of the moment Jamie Mackie worked tirelessly last night, he was simply superb and deservedly had a standing ovation when he was substituted, his recent form hasn't been unnoticed, Clarke continued:

"He’s a striker on a hot streak.

"Four goals from him have helped us earn seven points so you shouldn't underestimate the value of that. He’s great, he’s enthusiastic, he might not be the silkiest player but look at his finishes, two great goals, right and left foot.

The atmosphere at the Madejski was fantastic last night, with Clarke thanking the fans:

"I mentioned in my programme notes, we had a chat at the Fans Forum and I said sometimes the players need support- tonight they showed that.

"Hopefully Monday we’ll have a full house and get it rocking again."