It was back to winning ways at the Madejski Stadium with a hard fought 3-1 victory against Millwall. I don’t think any Reading fan would have guessed the starting line up, with Garath McCleary heading back into the side and Anssi Jaakkola also making his first start of the season. However, a brace by Yakou Meite and a penalty by Sam Baldock secured three points to take us above our opponents.
“It’s a big result for us. Our form at home has been really poor, and after the last run of games - where we picked up a bit but still ended up not feeling great going into the international break - we really needed to start off with a home win.
“And we really had to battle and fight for it.”
Clement on the performance
“Leading into the game, we spoke about how we’d have to battle for a win. We knew that if we didn’t fight, we would be playing to Millwall’s strengths. They are so good at direct football - long throws, set plays, back to front. They do it well and it has bought them success in the past.
“So first and foremost, we had to compete. We had to be compact, solid and aggressive. We rode our luck a bit at times but overall we deserved the result for the way we stood up to that. And we got forward and created some good chances... and scored three goals.”
Clement on team spirit
“Overall the team spirit, attitude, effort and commitment was the shining light from today’s performance. The players needed to stand up and be counted and they were in what was a hard fought victory.
“Today, the players did all the ‘hard fought’ stuff that you need to do especially against a team like Millwall. And it’s really pleasing to see that and win at home.”
Clement on the penalty
“It was good timing as it gave us something to build on at half time. But the best time to score is with 30 seconds left in the game. So the penalty was good timing but I have to commend the players for the way they stood up to a very difficult style of football to play against.
“We’re facing all different kinds of tests - this was different. There are other teams who play with a direct style, maybe no more than what we came across today. But we really had to fight for the victory.”
Clement on pressure
“I don’t know if we would have wilted if this was earlier in the season. Other teams have played long against us and we’ve struggled - the second half at Blackburn for a example, Bolton and Sheffield Wednesday at home and we did find it difficult.
“But in a very difficult game today we came out on the right side of a result.”
Clement on kick-starting the season
“In the context of the season it was an important result - if we hadn’t have won it would not have been very good at all - based on our home record so far and our position in the league. We did what we needed to do, got the result, moved up a couple of places in the league.
“We’ve now got two away games but some of our best football has been away from home so we have to build on this.”
Clement on players missing out
“They are day by day - I haven’t been given a time but they’re not long ones.
“Mannone was really close to playing but it was fantastic professionalism from Anssi. He has been training hard every day and it can be difficult when you’re not getting opportunities.
“This was the first chance he’s had this season so to come in and produce that level of performance shows how professional he is.”
Clement on the trip to Birmingham City on Tuesday evening
“Of course it makes a difference. If we hadn’t won then the challenges build but hopefully there will be a momentum shift with our confidence and mentality going into Birmingham.
“They’ve had some good results and they are a dangerous side. We’ve played them already this season so we know a little bit about them. We always expect a tough game in this league.”
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