It was a very disappointing start to the 2017/18 season for the Royals with a 2-0 defeat against QPR at Loftus Road.
Defending for QPR’s first goal was incredibly poor, not seeming to learn lessons from last season, but the day was made worse when Tiago Ilori was sent off in the second half and conceded a penalty, which Conor Washington converted, to leave the Royals bottom of the table on day one.
Stam was disappointed after a difficult afternoon and told the official club website.
“We knew QPR’s intention to press us high up the pitch, not giving us any opportunity to play out and create chances – and that’s what they’ve done. And they did it very well.
“Credit to them, they deserved the win. They fought for every yard on the pitch, won second balls, but they were also better than us on the ball and they worked well together. We didn’t – and it looked like we weren’t ready for it.
“We weren’t sharp enough, not aggressive enough, not good enough on the ball like we normally are. We were up against an opposition who played well, but we were not playing to our high standards.
“They created chances and they scored. Even without playing well, we create a couple of good but we didn’t score.
“If you don’t play well – then other things don’t go well for you. So it was a difficult afternoon and we definitely need to do a lot better.”
With a lengthy injury list, Stam gave debuts to four new signings and also named three Academy players in the squad – but signings are definitely needed to complete the squad and Stam is fully aware. He added,
“We need to look at getting some of the injured players back into the squad as soon as possible and we will keep looking to get extra players in as well. But today’s defeat is not down to that, it’s down to ourselves and how we played.
“We didn’t play well first half, we gave them a couple of opportunities to score by passing to their men. And yet at 1-0, coming out for the second half, you want to get back into the game.
“But the red card and the penalty, you’re 2-0 down and it’s very hard to get back into the game.
“I brought Mo Barrow into the game to attack and go forward with his pace and quality, and then going down to ten men he needed to drop in and defend more than he could go forward. So the red card was a turning point.
“But even at 1-0, we had a big chance to get back level… and we didn’t. It was one of those afternoons when you’re not playing well and that makes it difficult to finish those opportunities.
“We have spoken about how difficult this season is going to be. Everybody knows how we play now, as individuals and as a team. But the play-off final has to be an inspiration to the players. So we really need to step up if we want to at least do the same as last season.”
There is of course a long way to go, and I'll take your minds back to an opening day defeat against Plymouth in the 2005/2006 season, look what happened then.
Next up for the Royals is Gillingham at the Madejski Stadium in the Caraboa Cup before Fulham are the first league visitors next Saturday. URZ!