It could have been a lot worse, but a 0-0 draw against League Two Stevenage means the Royals will be in the hat for the fourth round of the FA Cup. Twitter was an interesting place last night after yet another disappointing performance but also after players didn’t initially applaud the travelling fans who had come to the game.
It’s a tough time for the club with fans increasingly frustrated and singing songs which are not going to help the players whose confidence is quite clearly shot. The Royals had to work hard to make sure there wasn’t an upset, and they did just that. Jaap Stam told the Official Club Website:
“We needed to dig in deep, work hard to not concede and look to come out and score that goal.
“Coming out, on the ball, we could have shown more quality. But we showed good work rate in defence, kept a clean sheet and we’re still in the cup.
“We knew from the start they were going to be making it difficult for us by playing balls up front, winning second balls, playing direct and trying to chase us.
“And the opposition worked very hard and they make it difficult for a lot of teams if they play like that week in, week out.
“A lower league team, when they play at home, they want to get the result. They put a lot of effort into it – and we had to match them or work even harder, and show some quality on the ball when you go forward. But even that is difficult sometimes – when the ball keeps on going up in the air it’s difficult to control the game.
“They played quite direct on a difficult pitch, so we had to get stuck in and work hard. In FA Cup football, you know anything can happen, but now we need to play again and hopefully we can get the result back at home.
“And another game isn’t a problem – we enjoy playing games. And we have been playing a lot of games in a short space of time so one extra game won’t be an issue.
“And we’re still in it. So although we haven’t got the win we wanted, there is no damage done.”
Next up for Reading is a trip to Nigel Adkins’ Hull City next Saturday at the KCOM Stadium.