Tuesday evenings at the Madejski returned in disappointing fashion with a 1-0 defeat against Derby County.
After his heroics against Ipswich on Friday evening, Orlando Sa had a very different evening, as he was sent off just before half time. Tom Ince scored Derby's only goal midway through the second half.
Steve Clarke was very disappointed with the result, he told the official club website:
"I'm devastated with the result tonight, because we've been on a really good run. And when your run ends, you want it to end in the right way. It didn't end in the right way tonight. We made a mistake, we went down to ten men and it's cost us dearly."
Asked whether he saw Orlando Sa's red card, Clarke said:
"I didn't see the incident and I haven't seen it back yet. But it was a key moment in the game.
"The first half was a good game between two good teams. And I thought we shaded the first half- we looked like the team who were most likely to win it, while Derby came here to keep it tight and not give much away. But the man advantage in the second half made it a difficult game - it changed the complexion of the match.
"It's difficult to play in the Championship 11 versus 11, especially when you're playing against one of the top teams, and Derby are one of the top teams who will be in the top six for sure. So we have to learn from that."
Again the performance was encouraging and there were great moments of forward play, but the defeat did mean the end of our seven-match unbeaten run which was difficult for Clarke to take.
"For long periods tonight, we matched them.
"Even at 1-0 down, we dug in, we kept going and had a couple of half chances near the end and I thought we deserved a little bit more than the result tonight.
"It wasn't an open game, they'd obviously watched us play against Ipswich and it was quite a cagey first half. But we were the team on the front foot, trying to force the game while it was 11 v 11.
"I'm sure we wouldn't have lost that game tonight if the numbers had been even. The team played some really good football in the first half and you could feel the crowd willing them on, pleased with the way their team was playing.
"So I'm disappointed for the players - they put in a tremendous effort, didn't concede too many chances and always looked a threat going forward."
We now move on to Bristol City on Saturday with a trip to Ashton Gate with the hope to put the disappointment of last night behind us, Clarke summing up by saying:
"I feel a little deflated because I felt the team was in a good moment - but it's up to me to pick myself up overnight and come tomorrow we start working again and get ourselves down to Bristol looking for three points. Tonight is to have the disappointment of the end of a good run. Tomorrow, we look to bounce back."
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