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Jaap Stam On Reading FC Win At Aston Villa: We Needed to Bounce Back

Reading's manager stressed the importance of staying positive after a thrashing at Carrow Road last week.

Aston Villa v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

It was important after Friday's results and last weekend's humiliating defeat that the Royals bounced back, and that is exactly what they did with a confident 3-1 victory against Aston Villa.

Did we ever really doubt the players? They knew what they had to do yesterday and they did it in style. Stam made four changes which saw Joseph Mendes get a chance.

He repaid Stam in the best way possible with two great goals, sending the 2,000+ travelling Royals home very happy. Lewis Grabban also got in on the act.

Stam was very pleased with the response he got from the players, he told the Official Club website:

"The result we had last week was very disappointing - we all know that. But we spoke about how to get back into the sort of feeling you need to have as a team.

"That was by working hard, having confidence in yourselves, doing the right things, and playing very disciplined. That's what we've done today. And if you do that, you get a result like this.

"We've bounced back several times this season - but we also knew, playing against a side who have just come out of the Premier League who have ambitions to go up, who have invested a lot of money in quality players, it wasn't going to be easy.

"Sometimes result like last week happen, even at the top level; Barcelona against Paris Saint-Germain for example, it can happen to the best teams. It happened with us last week.

"But we stayed positive. There is no reason for us to hammer players at this stage of the season. We know what they can do, how they can play, we've got the utmost confidence in what they can do.

"And in helping the players out, telling them what they need to do differently, having confidence in them, letting them talk between themselves about that game we moved forward.

"We needed to bounce back - and there was no reason for us today to think about what happened last week, we needed to go forward. And we did."

Villa had their chances, and equalised shortly after Mendes gave the Royals the lead. But the Royals coped well and deserved their victory. Stam knew that it was not going to be an easy game.

"You always want to score early, especially playing against a side like this with the quality they have. They've been on a really good streak with a lot of wins, and we knew over here in front of their home fans, it was not going to be easy.

"And by scoring that early goal, they needed to come out and attack. They got the equaliser but they still gave us space to come out on the break, and we created a couple of very good chances and scored three goals.

"We knew Villa were going to go for it in the second half, we knew they'd want to press us in the second half, so we spoke about it - the space that we'd get, especially in the corners, we needed to use that.

"And it was a great ball from Popa to Grabban, a great cross and again a great finish from Mendes for 2-1.

"It was a very good performance. We prepared very well and we knew where to hurt them. And the team were very disciplined in what they needed to do and very confident in how they played.

"It's in our hands to make it into the top six. And we've got to where we are playing our style. And today, the players were ready to bounce back."

The Royals have gone back to fourth, three points ahead of Leeds in fifth and six ahead of Fulham in seventh. With four fixtures to go, it is important we remain behind the boys to make sure we push them over the line for the play-offs. Starting tomorrow, with Rotherham the visitors to the Madejski Stadium.