Brian McDermott was a very happy man yesterday evening after a superb 3-1 victory against Premier League side West Bromwich Albion in the fifth round of the FA Cup, and for the second consecutive year, we have secured our place in the quarter-final, and are just potentially 90 minutes away from Wembley.
McDermott in his four seasons in charge of the Royals, has taken us to the quarter-finals for the third time. He told the official club website...
"What an atmosphere in the ground today! The atmosphere was top-drawer, and when we got back to 1-1, the fans got us over the line again. It was an absolute pleasure to be stood on the line with the fans and the players and to see the camaraderie we saw today."
After going 1-0 down in the second half by a Darren Fletcher goal, the Royals equalised just five minutes later through Paul McShane. Michael Hector made it 2-1 and Lucas Piazon scored with pretty much his first touch to secure a brilliant victory. McDermott added...
"We're really pleased. I thought we deserved to win the game. We went 1-0 behind against a Premier League side, and especially a side like West Brom, that could have been a real problem for us. But we scored quite soon after to make it 1-1, and the second goal was important obviously. Then the last goal gave us the chance to relax a little bit with a minute to go.
"If you don't show grit and determination and good mental aptitude, then you're going to have a problem in any game of football. We showed all of those qualities - and some quality as well. Our delivery from set-plays was excellent - Ollie Norwood put two great balls into the box, and if you put balls into the right areas, we've got guys who will score goals.
"There were a lot of players that were involved or were substitutes today - it's everyone together, it really is. That is what competition for places is all about, and I feel we've got real competition now. Everyone is chomping at the bit to play."
The quarter-final draw is made this evening with the ties taking place over the weekend of the 11th-14th March. Before the excitement of that can kick in, we have a fixture with Rotherham at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday evening. McDermott said:
"I've got my mind on Tuesday now against Rotherham. It's important that we sustain what we're trying to do. We're trying to build something - I keep talking about it, but we're trying to take us where we need to get to, and slowly we're getting there.
"But it's always nice to see the draw and it gives the fans something to look forward to. We want to make something of this season - that's really important. Seasons come and go and every season is very important, so we want to make the best we can of this season and see where it takes us."