After a few weeks of rest for the international break, The Royals travelled to Yorkshire to face a very good Leeds United side at Elland Road.
I’m sure I probably wasn’t the only Reading fan this weekend that wasn’t holding out for much hope, but in typical Royals fashion, came home with all three points in a fantastic win!
Mo Barrow scored in the 84th minute to make it a nervy last couple of minutes, even more so when Leeds got a injury time penalty. Time for Vito Mannone to step-up and become a hero, he did just that to take us out of the relegation zone.
Jaap Stam was absolutely delighted with his sides performance, he told the Official Club Website:
“We were very focused, very sharp, in control for the majority of the game. We didn’t give anything away especially in the first half - the only criticism of the team is maybe we should have scored more goals on the day.
“We were very composed in how we set up, the players were very confident in what they need to do - sometimes going forward, sometimes dropped in a little and giving them time off the ball... they didn’t like that very much. And then when you win the ball, we went forward and created opportunities.
“We are all delighted. Not for personal reasons, but for the team - if you look at the team and what they’ve been doing in the last weeks, it hasn’t been easy because everyone wants to have results. And when you don’t get results, people start asking questions.
“But overall today, it was a very, very good performance and I’m very pleased. We deserved the win.”
Stam made three changes to the side that started against Norwich and it worked, he said:
“We made the decision to drop a bit deeper at times, with the nine and the 10 pressing together and the wingers coming inside a bit more - to not give them the space they like.
“We saw games they’ve played and how they wanted to play today. They like to have that space for their striker or the midfield players to run in behind into - we analysed them very well as we try to do with every opponent and we allowed them a bit more time on the ball.
“I also changed it at the back a bit, Leandro Bacuna has played at right-back before - at Villa he played for a long time as a right-back, and I wanted to put him on the right side and Chris Gunter on the left, with Tiago Ilori and Liam Moore in the middle and it paid off. They all did very well.”
Barrow scored all the important winner after being brought on by Stam, but there were a few missed chances which could have taken the pressure off slightly, Stam added:
“Sometimes you need to be a bit lucky as a manager as well, but we all know the ability of Mo, his pace, his one v ones, his scoring ability - if he gets into a position to score we know he can do that.
“And especially over here, he didn’t play a lot in his time at Leeds and every player wants to show himself against his old team.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Royals with a trip to Bramall Lane against Sheffield United next weekend,
“I know what the team can do. In football, it happens that you get a run which isn’t that good. We’re not going to be winning every game in the league.
“But we want to do well of course and we’ve got the confidence that we can do well. I’m pleased for the players that we got this win - I want them to do well because they are working very hard to get results. And we’ve got real belief in ourselves.”