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Reading FC Manager Jaap Stam On Man Utd FA Cup Defeat

The Royals boss gives his verdict on our FA Cup exit at Old Trafford.

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Great lessons can be learnt from our trip to Old Trafford in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, but what a great experience for our players to have.

Unfortunately the result wasn't to be, but even though we may have all of had a feeling that we could have progressed to the next round, I think if we will all admit that our expectations were not too high.

After going 2-0 down to a superb Manchester United display early on, we came back into the game and had some chances, but United's experience was just too much, and they went on to win 4-0, the last goal was down to a bad mistake from Ali Al-Habsi - something which has been coming for a while when playing with the ball at the back.

So Jaap Stam's return to Old Trafford wasn't a happy one, but he knows that the boys will learn from the experience, he told the Official Club website, "I hate losing and I hated losing today. But it's what the players do with it. Whether they learn what to do to improve themselves as players or not.

"It's a great experience for these players. And it's up to them to make it harder for a team like this when they play against them again.

"Good experiences come not just when you're winning games, but also when you lose games.

"And every player, even when you're a young boy, wants to play at this level. So players need to learn from playing in these games, learn how to progress and become better players - and eventually aim to get to the level the opposition are at."

Reflection

Wayne Rooney scored the opener before United made it two through Anthony Martial, and from then, we knew it was over, but there were good performances from players, including Liam Kelly who didn't look out of place at all.

Stam added: "If you play against a side like United, you need to be aggressive and very sharp from the start of the game. You know they are going to start fast and if you give them space and time on the ball, they can make it very hard for you.

"In the first 20 minutes, we were not sharp enough and we could have done better. And they can punish you, and they did.

"After they scored two goals in 15 minutes, we kept on going, trying to press forward, and eventually in the second half they dropped in a big and we got a bit more time on the ball.

"And we kept possession well at times in the second half, but we didn't create enough chances - and they were looking to counter attack. If you're playing possession football, you can leave big spaces at the back and then, if we lost possession, with the first touch they had they were going forward with the pace of Rashford.

"If you play against a team of this quality, you need to be very focused on the defensive part of the game as well. Because if you lose it, they're going to harm you.

"If you get the chance to play against a team like Manchester United, a team near the top of the Premier League, a top team in European football, there obviously is a big different between the two teams.

"But I can't blame my team in how they performed, because they worked very hard on what they needed to do. If you are playing against a side with that quality, we could have slowed it down... but they kept on going, bringing everything they could to the game.

"And in the way we think about football, and considering where we are at the moment as a football club, you have to stand back and realise that this club finished 17th in the league last season, now we're third in the Championship.

"We are wanting to play a certain style of football, we are growing as a club but also as a group and we are making progress in the league we are in."

Next up for the Royals is a visit from QPR on Thursday, attention can now be on the league for the rest of the season.