With the pressure on manager Jaap Stam growing, I take a look at the positives of keeping the Dutchman at Reading, whilst also exploring the negatives of Stam staying in Berkshire.
With the Royals collapsing to a 2-1 defeat to Norwich at the weekend, the league table doesn’t make good reading for Reading fans, with the team currently in 18th position with a tough run of games coming up in October.
They face Leeds, Sheffield United and Middlesbrough, so I’m expecting the pressure to increase even more on Stam if Reading don’t come out of that run with some positive results.
Reasons why Stam SHOULD remain in charge
His style has proved it can work
The Dutchman’s possession based football has split the Reading fan base since he arrived as manager, and that is still the case. I for one, will admit that I was a huge fan of the style, even if we did pass backwards regularly, because it proved successful as we reached the Play Off final, in which no Reading fan would have imagined we would reach when Stam was appointed.
It’s still only Stam’s first job in management
This is something that we do have to consider as this is the only “blip” that Stam has suffered whilst being in management. It’s a difficult one to consider, as Stam and his squad set the benchmark for this season so high, having over-achieved last season by only missing out on the Premier League on penalties. But it does beg the question, how much longer can you give him until poor form turns into consistently poor results? Time will certainly tell.
The squad have to take some of the responsibility
Apart from Danny Williams and Ali Al-Habsi, this Reading team can count themselves lucky, that they haven’t lost a considerable number of players after the impressive season last year. The core of this team is still there, and with signings such as Sone Aluko and Vito Mannone, you could argue that this year’s squad is even stronger than the team that reached Wembley. So something is obviously not clicking at the moment, and that needs to change sooner rather than later.
Reasons why Stam SHOULDN’T remain in charge
His stubborness to change tactics
This for me, would be the main reason as to why Stam would be on thin ice, as Reading seem to have been found out this year by opposition who seem to pick them off ever so easily after soaking up pressure for over half of the game. Therefore you have to look at Stam’s tactics, especially when Reading are chasing a game. Providing the Royals actually have a striker on the pitch at the time, then they should change tactics to something different, to catch the opposition out, instead of keeping to the predictable possession based football.
Lack of Plan B
This is similar to the first point, but I’ve noticed this has been the case for a while now, since Jaap came to the club. Last season the possession football worked incredibly well, but since it hasn’t proved as successful this season, there seems to be a real issue of having no other option than to continue to pass the ball around in our own half when we’re searching for an equalizer.
Criticism of certain fans
For some fans, Stam’s style of football combined with the team’s poor performances on the pitch has led to boos from sections of the Reading fans and Stam’s criticism of the fans won’t have gone down well with a number of fans who’ll argue that he can’t handle the pressure or any negative comments that come his way in his first managerial job.
I personally think that Jaap Stam is the right man to turn this round at Reading, but he does need to think very quickly about a Plan B if the Royals do go behind in games. Which has been shown after defeats to Millwall and Norwich recently.