Reading, I think it’s fair to say, were lucky to get a point after a frustrating 1-1 draw against Hull City at the Madejski Stadium.
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson should have come away with the plaudits at the end of the game after scoring his first goal at the Madejski, but Jaap Stam’s comments to BBC Radio Berkshire about fans superseded that.
The atmosphere was tense to say the least, with not starting a striker, fans booing at half time, and when Liam Kelly was substituted in the second half for Tiago Ilori. But in hindsight, his choices worked eventually when Bodvarsson slotted home the equaliser after all the criticism he has received over the past few weeks.
So, what did Jaap have to say? He spoke to BBC Radio Berkshire’s Tim Dellor and said,
“The team didn’t lose their head when the crowd was against them, which I think at home is a very bad sign, but it happens unfortunately, but they kept on going and eventually it paid off by getting the equaliser which is I think is very good for them to get it. Everybody wants to get a win at home, but a point is good if you can say that.
“I don’t think it’s about the fans making them go forward, I think it’s very very bad that they are reacting like this.
“If you have a season like we had last season, I don’t know if they are expecting to win the league, but I can tell you it’s not going to happen. So we need to be clear about that. If you are going to make noise, if you are negative, why do you need to come to the stadium?
“And whatever the problem, they can talk to me. I’m willing to come over and talk to them about that you know, but I don’t like it when fans are acting like this. They’re only shouting if it is not going well. We can hear them but if it’s going well we don’t hear them. Well only a small group because of course, it is not everyone.
“If it needs to be like that sorry but I’ve been used to other fans who react in a different way to a team who maybe is having a hard time scoring a goal or going forward because the opposition is playing in a certain way as well.”
Following on from his comments on Radio Berkshire, Stam spoke to the press, he told the Reading Chornicle,
“I don’t feel pressure from fans. If I need to feel pressure from them and how they react at certain times, it’s a little bit wrong.
“As a fan you cannot only cheer when it’s going well and for the rest of the day hear nothing from you.
“Fans need to support the team and not cheer against them. Players are working hard to get results and do well.
“The crowd is not telling me who to bring on. They need to look at themselves and not at me.
“Hopefully they take it as a positive cheer, players know what they need to do.”
So strong words from Stam and after having words about the fans he admitted after the game, that the Royals need to do better, he told the official club website,
“We should have done better, better in our decision- making... taking one or two touches on the ball, passing and move the ball quickly, making runs in behind at the right time, playing the ball at the right time. And that is up to the players on the pitch.
“We needed to do things quicker. We needed to do things better. And we’re working on it. We worked on it in training, but you need to rely on the players to translate it. And they can do it, they’ve shown that on many, many occasions. And they tried to do it as well as they could today. But we all realise we should have done better.”
“We lost that ball in the first half and, from the only chance they had in the first half, they score that goal.
“After that, the opposition drop in deeper and wait for the counter attack. And it becomes important for you to do it right when you do make those decisions in front of the box.
“And yet towards the end of the game, we’re still 1-0 down, we have all the possession and we are getting into situations where you hope you can create something, but it goes on longer and longer without getting that equaliser.
“So you have to be happy when you score towards the end of the game and get a point.”
With Bodvarsson scoring in the 87th minute, you could see the relief in the players body language as the goal went in to earn a point after struggling to create anything all afternoon, Stam added,
“It’s not always easy to create chances and score goals when the opposition is playing like they did. But in the second half the players worked very hard for it.
“I understand everyone wants us to go forward as quickly as possible, but you need to be patient as well. Sometimes you have to think logically about what you need to do.
“If the opposition are playing higher up the pitch, you have more space to run into and that makes it a lot easier to be a threat going forward. But if they’re sitting in front of the box, and as a striker you need to run between 10 players and it’s a lot more difficult.
“As a team, you have to keep creating gaps, openings to get that ball, to play that pass…and you need to put a lot of work in.
“They did that, they kept going and didn’t lose their head, even when the crowd turned against them which is not good to hear at home. The players kept going and it paid off eventually with the equaliser.
“It’s not the result we wanted - we all wanted a win at home. But it’s better to get a draw than lose the game. And we’ll work on it again ahead of two more games this week.”
Next up for Reading is Millwall on Tuesday night at the New Den.