Roy Beerens' second goal for the club gave Reading a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town yesterday, a result helped by a red card for the Terriers' Rajiv van La Parra midway through the first half. Manager Jaap Stam spoke about the difficulty of playing against 10 men to GetReading:
"You know playing against 10 men it will be difficult - we’ve shown that in the last two games. They made it tough for us in the second half and we weren’t sharp enough to defend their midfield players. We should have pressed them high up the pitch, but we didn’t and that’s why they got time on the ball.
"The right full-back put a couple of crosses in and created some difficult situations for us, they could have scored - but so could we. We also had a couple of chances."
But eventually an impressive team spirit that has emerged this season meant the Royals saw out the victory. Stam said:
"They felt they could score - they got the feeling it could happen. They were putting balls in the box. They put an extra man up front who was tall and made it very hard.
"But we worked very hard to get the three points. Everyone is willing to work together, we’ve seen that in the previous games."
However, the Dutchman was also keen to assert that his team were far from the finished article, telling the official website:
"This game was tight, but we won it. So I'm very happy with the three points of course. But from this game, there are a lot of points we can improve on.
"We needed to have better quality on the ball, we needed more movement, more runs in behind to create space for others, we needed to play at a higher pace.
"We gave them too much time to get the ball to their full backs and for them to put crosses in and create chances of their own. So we can do a lot better..but, as I say, we were up against a very good team.
"And it's good if you play against sides with a lot of quality, because then you need to improve yourself."
The result means that Reading are now on a run of eight matches. unbeaten in all competitions, and the games just keep on coming.
"We're not thinking about any unbeaten run, we're looking from game to game - and it's not going to be easy. We have a difficult game at Brentford for example on Tuesday.
"The players have been working very hard, playing two games this week with ten men - so it's not easy to keep on playing how you want to in every single game. We are not working from Saturday to Saturday - it's Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday for weeks now.
"It would be nice to have a week between two games, to work on things with the squad. But it's also always nice to play games, everybody is very eager to play. The subs - they're not happy when they're on the bench. And that's what you want to create in a squad.
"We're still getting the results though, which is good. But there's a long way to go. Everything is going okay, but in this division you know it can change in a second, playing against good sides every game. And you know that, during the course of the season, we will have difficult spells as well.
"When that happens, you need to know how to get back up again and win your games again. That will be a learning curve for us as well because we have a lot of new players, many who haven't been playing in this league before now. So it's new for everybody. But up til now we've kept it up and it's going well."