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Reading FC Manager Steve Clarke On Watford Defeat And Return Of Jem Karacan

So what did Royals boss Steve Clarke have to say on the defeat to Watford? Sophie tells us all...

Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Steve Clarke made nine changes in yesterday’s 4-1 defeat against Watford at Vicarage Road. Can I blame him for making nine changes? No, I can’t. We have our biggest game in year’s tomorrow evening at the Madejski and Clarke is focused on that.

Take away Monday night, Watford were superb with their finishing, Clarke told Reading F.C. player, "It’s a disappointing score line and I think a little bit unfair on the effort of the team.

"I think the team didn't deserve to lose by that score line. They were punished by a very, very good Watford team.

" Watford are good and we started too slow, conceding a goal in the first minute wasn't the plan. We responded quite well to that, played some good stuff in the first half and got into some really good positions. But we couldn't quite threaten the goal enough.

"The second goal was a poor goal to lose; it sort of knocked our confidence a little bit. Then we spoke at half-time about not conceding, but we conceded early which made it difficult for us. But the character that has been there in recent weeks came through."

The return of Jem Karacan

One of the big positives from a poor game yesterday was club captain Jem Karacan returning from injury and scored his first goal since August 2013 – which was also against Watford. Clarke said: "I put Jem onto the pitch, he showed everyone that he’s still here, still around – and he scored a great goal.

"It’s been well documented how difficult it has been for Jemba over the last two years. Slowly we’re getting him back, you see today if we can get him back at 100% he’s a very good addition to our squad."

Four debutants

There were four debutants yesterday for the Royals, including new signings Zat Knight and Jure Travner, Clarke added "Zat Knight the 87 minutes is a good physical work out for him. Jure deserved a chance to play; he’s been waiting a long time.

"Something I've spoken about over a number of weeks since I got to the club is reaction. Reaction to adversity on the pitch, we showed that today."

"Like I said, the scoreline will look a little bit poorly on the team – but the effort, the application of the team and some of the football from the team, we had one move in the first half that was outstanding – they've only had two days training together.

"There were a lot of debuts, a lot of young boys that for their first taste of the Championship had a really difficult place to come, we will live and learn from this experience."