I can’t quite find the words of how to explain our 2-0 defeat against relegation-threatened Birmingham City. We have lost four out of the last five and we are all feeling very empty with what is currently going on at the football club, the difference between two seasons is quite astounding.
As we all know, Stam was given the backing by Ron Gourlay before the match with him discussing about the longer-term project, but it’s increasingly becoming clear that we are now in a relegation battle, and I can guarantee, as much as we felt we may not be in the position we were last season, relegation was not in their plans.
Jaap had a lot to say after the game, he spoke about confidence, poor defending and improvement. He told the official club website:
“If the confidence is low, the players are not doing things that they normally would do when they’re feeling good and when results are working for you.
“I’ve been in these situations as well, at some of the biggest teams in Europe. And even the best players if they’re not high on confidence, they make different decisions or they don’t see that ball to play at the right moment.
“Conceding a goal from a set piece… again. It’s something we’ve spoke about, but it is becoming the routine.
“And if you concede a goal like that, you know it’s going to be difficult. We had opportunities ourselves to score, we don’t pull that trigger or we don’t beat the keeper and it becomes more difficult.
“And if you concede that first goal, you see those players get a bit more insecure or disappointed in the way it is going, which you don’t need to do. You need to go forward and take the initiative and instead they opt for the safe ball and play it back maybe.
“In the second half, it became the same game as a lot of times this season. We had possession, tried to go forward, the opposition waited for the moment to come out on the break, it happened – we lost that ball, they came out, and they killed us off. 2-0.
“We had possession, created opportunities. But we need to score ourselves and stop giving goals away from set pieces, corner kicks, crosses. It happened at Barnsley in extra time, in this game as well – we needed to be aware of their threat from set pieces with the height and physique of their players.
“You need to defend better in those situations, because we know a lot of teams are targeting that against us. You talk about it, you can train on it, but it’s still a problem that is coming back. We need to do a lot better.”
We are all becoming increasingly frustrated and all fans have different opinions on his future, but Stam spoke to GetReading about our position in the table and not understanding what the fans expect:
“You need to ask the fans what they expect because I don’t know. They are entitled to react how they want but this is it. It doesn’t make it easier for us and the team to perform.
“If you want to react like that then you need to do so, but booing now and then cheering again for the same players – I don’t know how it works.
“It’s a difficult position. There are still a lot of games to go but we need to be very careful because we don’t want to end up there.
“We are very close – maybe that’s a danger for certain players to think too much about it. It showed again against Birmingham – we need to work very hard to get results.
“Sometimes it’s easier to play against a top team than one at the bottom.”
Reading travel to Hertfordshire on Saturday for the FA Cup game against Stevenage, before returning to league action with a trip to Nigel Adkins’ Hull City.