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Steve Clarke On Pride, Supporters And The Future

Steve Clarke showed his worth as a manager yesterday with a near perfect tactical plan. Sophie reveals what he had to say on our near miss at Wembley against Arsenal.

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What a day yesterday was, and not one person could say that they were not immensely proud of the team.

Steve Clarke was no different, he told the Official Website:

"The team doesn't need me to stand here and say how proud I am. Everybody knows. The crowd, the supporters were behind everyone from the first minute.

"The supporters were great. But I think the team probably shaded it. They were magnificent. Everything we spoke about, everything we asked them to do - tactically astute, tactically clever- always looking around to help each other. Denying Arsenal the space and always looking to be a threat when we went forward. And that was key for us in the game.

"We switched off once in the first half, when you switch off against a quality team you get punished. But in the second half, we showed great resolve, great ambition to get back in the game."

Some of the officials decisions didn't go the way Reading would have hoped and Clarke commented on this saying:

"It's a good job there's goal line technology, because with everything that's gone against us today - we wouldn't have got the goal. Officials would have chalked it off. We got back into the game and it was a proper cup tie between two good teams."

Goalkeeper Adam Federici made some fantastic saves to deny Arsenal, but unfortunately had a moment to forget during the first half of extra time when the Gunners scored their second goal. What a player he has been for us this season and Clarke had supportive words for the Royals goalkeeper:

"It's the life of a goalkeeper,

"Adam is obviously very upset, because he feels responsible for the defeat. It's much better in a game like this that if you have to lose you lose to a moment of brilliance. That's not the case today.

"As I said after the game, we win together, we lose together. Adam is a strong character. All the players are 100% behind him, the staff are 100% behind him - he'll bounce back. On Wednesday night when we play Birmingham, he'll be typical Adam Federici - one of our best players."

With such a fantastic performance, many pundits were saying that this game can be used as a springboard for us to be able to move forward, and this is something that Clarke agrees with, he said:

"This is what we have to aim for. This is what I said at the end of the game - 'this is what we have to strive for'.

"You see the crowd like this, when the team is doing well competing against a top team - the supporters understand they're going to have to help. They did that today. We have to hold the ambition to have a much better season next year, and the season after that we can be back - we can be playing this type of game every week. This has to be the ambition for Reading Football Club."