Out of the 500 games at the Madejski, Saturday’s game was probably the most disappointing and frustrating. It’s not what the sell-out crowd expected at all. Burton set up well, and deserved their 2-1 win.
The visitors took the lead in the first half, before Mo Barrow equalised in the second half, but Burton took all three points back to Staffordshire after a laughable winner with awful defending - something we have heard before!
So, our final game of 2017 ended in huge disappointment, and for the first time, I really felt like Jaap Stam was angry with our performance, he told the Official Club website:
“We’ve seen how Burton play, we’ve shown it to the squad and we’ve spoken about not conceding that first goal... and then it happens from a throw in, we weren’t marking tight enough, their player gets in front of Liam Kelly and scores. And we have to chase the game to get back into it.
“They made it difficult to play through them, but if a team is playing in a certain way, you need to play against it with a quality of pass, the first touches need to be good, the choices on the ball need to be good.
“But too many players weren’t at the level we can expect from them today. That can happen. But it makes it very frustrating.”
Mo Barrow scored the equaliser and we all thought that our dismal performance would be forgotten as we would push on to get the winner, but that wasn’t to be after a catalogue of mistakes meant Burton scored a laughable winner. Stam added:
“We got that goal and after that you think it’s going to pick up and we might go on to win it. And then we conceded another cheap goal.
“We weren’t accurate with our passes at the back, made the wrong choices and it bobbles in. We gave the goal away ourselves.
“The players always make the choices out on the pitch. We can only hand them a plan, a strategy. When they get out on the pitch, the players need to do it.
“When we have so much possession, you are looking for your players to get into certain areas, where they can get that ball and go forward as quick as they can. The players have to make that decision, where to run to get that ball and then what to do with it.
“When you’re out there as a manager, you need to trust your players. The majority of the game it goes well, but sometimes it goes wrong.
“When they get out on the pitch, it is up to them to take the game into their control, execute the plan and try to win the game.
“But today the players are frustrated that what they were trying to do did not go well.”
With a lot of Reading fans wanting to see a change in management, now is not the right time, with the January window just around the corner, but Stam has to turn things around as fans turn increasing frustrated, he told GetReading:
“It can always happen that fans are booing. Now that the stadium is finally a sell-out, there’s even more fans to boo.
“One thing lead to another but that’s probably how it goes and how it needs to be - but I don’t know.
“We just need to deal with our own things and think about what we can do and what we need to do to improve and to at least not concede those goals like that and score goal ourselves.
“We are always looking for certain players with a certain ability but to be honest, I don’t know if we can do a lot in the transfer market in January.
“There’s always a possibility of a couple of players who have been doing well leaving who are under the attention of certain clubs but we don;t want to lose players.
“I don’t want to lose players or sell players to be honest.”
Next up for the Royals are in-form Bristol City on Boxing Day at Ashton Gate.
Merry Christmas to all Royals fans.