It was the type of result that would cause Jaap Stam to tear his hair out... if he had any anyway. Joey van den Berg’s late gaffe helped hand Fulham a point, despite playing for all but 30 seconds with 10-men. Yet the Reading gaffer refused to totally lay the blame on his fellow Dutchman. Speaking to the media after the game on Van den Berg,
“He was very disappointed. But you can say is it only that or is it also the pass to him? Players need to learn from these kind of mistakes.”
Yet Stam’s frustration was pretty clear, as detailed on the club’s official website.
“Playing against 10 is not easy – you know that the opposition will have a certain setup and they will make spaces very small, and they will look for the counter attack with the quality players that they have,” he continued. “You need to maintain and keep possession and wait for those moments when you can score.
“That happened in the second half – spaces opened up and you can score a goal with Liam Kelly. And after that, there’s basically nothing going on because we’re keeping control of the game and waiting for that second, and at least trying not to concede when they come out.”
“They warned us a couple of times on the counter, especially from corners, but we gave that goal away ourselves from the ball that was played to the other side – it wasn’t a good touch, but it got intercepted and they scored the equaliser, which is very, very disappointed.
“We needed to get three points, and it didn’t happen. And that’s frustrating.”
The Reading boss had some sympathy for the fans, who were similarly frustrated following the draw. However, Stam was also keen to see the crowd stay patient.
“It can be frustrating for people to watch, but you need to keep possession and wait for the balls in between or get down the sides to get the ball in to score.
“That’s what we tried to do. We spoke before the second half about that and we did it – we were very high up the pitch, but sometimes you need to be decisive in your finishing as well. We had occasions when we could have had a shot from close range but we waited a bit longer and people get closed down… and then you have to play it back again.
“When you’re playing in this league against a good side like Fulham, even with 10 men, you’re not going to get 15 or 20 chances. The couple that you have, you have to pull the trigger and finish it off.”
So do you agree with the Dutchman? Was the patience shown the right attitude, or should we have gone a bit more gung-ho to finish the job?