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Stam: Reading FC Players Have Been Tremendous All Season

Heaps praise on the side that finished third.

Reading v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Who would have thought back in August, after being written off by every pundit and journalist going, that Reading would finish third in the Championship.

Huge credit goes to Jaap Stam, his management team and the players for what has been a superb season. With two huge games coming up against Fulham, it is now time to make what has been a great season hopefully even more memorable.

The Royals enjoyed their afternoon up in Staffordshire after a good 4-2 victory against Burton Albion. Goals came from Joseph Mendes, Jordan Obita (it was a cross!), Yann Kermorgant and Lewis Grabban. Burton started a bit of a comeback but the Royals managed to hold on. A real positive for the day was the return of Paul McShane and Joey van den Berg.

Stam now has two of the most important games of his career ahead of him, and he has nothing to fear, he told the Official Club website, "It's better to go into the play-offs with a win, rather than a bad result and with a strange feeling going home. So we are pleased with the result.

"It was a very open game, they came out for their last home game wanting to do well in front of their fans. And they have had a great season and have achieved a lot.

"But it is the same for us and we wanted to bring certain qualities to the game too. And we scored four - the players who scored have done so in previous games as well, so we already knew their qualities and what they can do.

"We conceded two goals in the second half, goals we don't want to be conceding - but overall, in how we've played today, what we've done throughout the season, the players have done a great job."

The victory meant the Royals finished third, which is the seventh best finish in the club's 146-year history. Attention now turns to Saturday, with our trip to Craven Cottage, Stam added: "The play-off games are totally different to league games - hopefully we can do well in those games and maybe go to the final. But first we have to look at the first game of course.

"We know that these games will be different in terms of the stress, the tension, the importance placed upon these games as well," he added. "But we've got nothing to lose.

"We made it into the top six, we finished third in the league... we'll just keep doing the things we've been doing all season and hopefully we can keep getting results.

"The teams who have ended up in the play-offs are quality teams, with very good players, who all play in a certain way that can make it difficult for each other come these play-off games.

"We just need to maintain our form, maintain the mentality we have within the squad, dig in and keep the same work rate we need to put in to get the results.

"We'll spend this week looking at the opposition, seeing what we can do to make it difficult for our opposition. It's going to be an interesting week and I'm looking forward to it."

The final words from Stam were to praise the players, who have had their highs and lows throughout the season, but so many positives which have made us fans so proud.

"We are very happy to have finished the season with a win and ending up in third in the league. But there is still no end to this season," added the Dutchman

"And it's always nice to end the season with good results. We've had a great season. But can we end the season even better than what we've achieved so far?

"The players are convinced we can do well. And I'm proud of the team and what they've done this season. We started pre-season playing in a certain way, playing differently to how they have been playing in the last couple of seasons.

"It has taken a lot of work, effort but they were willing to open themselves up and to learn. It's all been about learning, getting better as a squad, as a club, as individuals. And the players have been tremendous this season."