‘Positive’ and ‘improvement’ were the two big words after Tuesday’s 3-0 victory against Barnsley at the Madejski Stadium. It was a positive result, with the team scoring three and registering a clean sheet, and now we are unbeaten in three league matches.
Dave Edwards scored his second goal since his summer move from Wolves, Joey van den Berg scored a brilliant second and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson bagged a third to secure all three points. But there is definite room for improvement, with the Royals seeming to let Barnsley back into the game in the second half and not capitalising on their first half dominance.
Jaap Stam was very happy with the victory but still critical, telling the official club website:
“We deserved the win. We played good football, created chances, scored three goals, kept a clean sheet… so overall a very good evening.
“But we’re always very critical of our performances, always looking to details we can be better at, how we can improve.
“Looking at the game, I think we could have done better. Perhaps some of the players weren’t as fresh as they could be after Saturday’s game but in my opinion – and the team are of the same opinion – I think we can show a lot more.
“We had a lot of the ball and we were a threat throughout, and we scored two good goals in the first half.”
Stam reserved special praise for van den Berg’s wonder goal in the first half, hinting that it’s something they’ve been working on in training.
“Joey tries those shots a lot in training and quite often he comes very close; we always say the midfielders that, if they have that space in front of them, they should drive forward and take a shot – just do it!
“Joey’s got the ability to do that, as he showed tonight. At first he was looking for a pass to get someone else in, but when you get so close you take your own initiative and have a shot yourself. And it was a great goal for him and important for us to get the second goal as well.
“Then at half-time they made three substitutions, played with two strikers up front and played a bit more direct – and of course there is always that threat then if they get forward.
“And there were a couple of situations in the box, but we did very well in defending the lead, we put a lot of energy into it and worked very hard. So that is very positive. And a clean sheet, scoring three goals… we are happy of course.
“But we raise the bar ourselves, set certain standards for ourselves – and only by doing that do you improve and pick up more good results.”
Next up for the Royals is a trip to Sunderland on Saturday. Make sure to tune into The Tilehurst End for all our usual preview and post-match content.