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Jaap Stam On Fulham Play-Off: There Is A Long Way To Go

The Reading manager has his say on the weekend's first leg at Craven Cottage.

Fulham v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Play Off: First Leg Photo by Harry Hubbard/Getty Images

After being written off by everyone before the game, the Royals did exactly what they needed to do yesterday at Craven Cottage to take a 1-1 draw back to the Madejski Stadium.

The Royals frustrated Fulham and every football fan around the country, but Reading fans can be proud of how they played. After a quiet first half, we took the front foot early on in the second half and Jordan Obita scored his second goal in as many games, and what a great goal it was too.

Fulham equalised through Tom Cairney shortly after to make it a tense finish. It was made even more nervy when Paul McShane was sent off, and rightly so, towards the end of the game, but we held on and did us fans proud.

Jaap Stam was positive after the game and told the official club website, "Of course, you want to win your games, but coming over here is not the easiest of games.

"They've got a good team as well, otherwise they wouldn't have finished in the top six of the Championship, so it's good to get a draw.

"We started the game very well, very aggressively, not giving them time to play and we succeeded also in going forward and being a threat at times.

"Towards the end of the first half, they got a bit more time to play because we dropped deep too quickly and we spoke about that at half-time.

"We also spoke about keeping those lines very close to each other and, when we win the ball, going forward down the sides. And it happened!

"Jordan Obita bombed forward, got that ball, and it was a great strike - he showed he has a great strike on him last week as well! And we went 1-0 up.

"Then it's a question of what you're going to do as a team - drop in and hold onto that 1-0 or are you going to play your own game and keep trying to go forward?

"Some players wanted to go forward, others went too deep too quick, and they get more possession as a result. And if you give them time and space, they can score goals which is exactly what they did."

The red card for our skipper meant a very nervy ending to the game. The last time we played at the Cottage and went down to 10 men, Fulham took advantage, but this time, Reading saw out the game.

"At 1-1, we get the red card. And we defended well after that, kept it tight, and we didn't give away many chances at all.

"The red card itself, I've seen it back now. He touched the player, but it wasn't deliberate. He wanted to go for the ball and Paul is a tough player, but he's fair. McDonald tapped that ball away from him and he was late in the tackle as a result.

"Macca has been very important for us this season, but he has been out with injury before and other players have stepped up and done a good job.

"Jordan twisted his ankle at the end too - he was stretching, trying to book a cross from Fredericks at the end, but there was no tension in the ankle and he twisted it as he landed. So we'll need to assess it now and see what the injury is.

"But as I say, we've got options - that's the good thing about having a big squad. Throughout the season we've had options to make changes."

So, onto Tuesday night. Let's get the Madejski packed and hopefully continue to celebrate what has been an amazing season.

"The fans were great, just as they were last weekend. And that's what we need again.

"We need their support and I've spoke about it many times. I'm happy with them and I think they're happy with us at the moment - so that's a good thing.

"Everybody is excited for Tuesday, but we won't get over-excited. We're playing with home advantage, but we're still playing against a very good side.

"They need to score, we need to score, so it's going to be a very interesting game between two sides battling against each other. Let's just wait and see what's going to happen.

"For now, we're happy with the draw. But there is a long way to go. And it's going to be a tough game."