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Jaap Stam On Disappointing Reading FC Defeat At Preston North End

How did Reading's manager react to Saturday afternoon's loss at Deepdale?

Reading v Newcastle United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

After such a promising result on Tuesday evening against the league leaders, expectations were quite high leading into yesterday's clash against Preston, but the result was not what we were expecting, at all.

A really disappointing 3-0 defeat at Deepdale means next week's fixture against Sheffield Wednesday is so important, with Fulham now just four points behind us, and just two points off the play-offs.

With such a poor performance, and three goals conceded in 18 minutes either side of half time, Jaap Stam told the Official Club website that the players know they can do better. He said:

"We know what we can do. We know what the opposition can do. And we've proven, in the past, that we can be dangerous going forward and solid at the back. But we've had a couple of these games now and we should know better.

"But losing the ball, we can be very open and give chances and goals away. And that's what happened today as well.

"They did it very well, very aggressive in how they play, defensively working well together, going forward together, being aggressive in turning towards goal and dribbling forward.

"In the first half, they didn't create a lot of chances and we played OK. And going forward, we got opportunities and we needed to be more clinical.

"There were opportunities to play if we'd made the right choices. We didn't. And they deservedly won the game.

"When they came out they were very dangerous and they scored their goals. We needed to be more aggressive defensively, more resolute.

"In other games, we've done well when we've gone behind, come back well - we've had an answer from the group. But when you go two goals behind and then it's three just after half-time, it's very difficult to get back into the game.

"We needed to anticipate certain situations better. We were always late to the ball and they punished us. We had the same thing against Brighton and we've had it in previous games... and we need to improve on it."

Fulham had a brilliant win at Newcastle yesterday which closes the gap between them and Sheffield Wednesday who are in sixth. Next up is a critical game against the Owls in which we need to improve to make sure our play-off challenge is still on.

"You've seen that if you want to stay up there, where we are in the table, you have to do better. You are not allowed to make small mistakes.

"The players were very eager to do well, but we need to learn. Small things matter and to win games like these, you need to be sharp, focused - that means when we get the opportunities that we did in the first half, you need to finish them. That means when you're attacking, you need to be aware of their strikers as well in case you lose the ball.

"And we need to be decisive - if you can't play nice football in the certain way we like to play, sometimes you need to launch that ball into the stands... be decisive. And we don't do that. That's why we're giving goals away."