It was very much a tale of two halves on Saturday afternoon when Reading faced West Brom at The Hawthorns. The Royals started so well, and took the lead early through Leandro Bacuna; the chances kept coming but Reading went in 1-0 up at half time. The second half was a very different story, conceding four goals and putting on our normal poor second 45 minutes performance.
Our second half performance led to chants calling for Ron Gourlay to leave the club, and lots more discussion of whether Paul Clement should continue his job as Reading manager. Here is what our boss had to say after the game, he spoke to both the official club website and GetReading.
Clement on his future
“I don’t worry about that. I saw someone - a journalist - recently write I’m finding it difficult to make excuses for Paul Clement. Well, you don’t have to make excuses for me, he can write what he wants.
”My job is to focus on the team, do my best to get the line-up right, the tactics right, work with the players and try and improve them.cClearly I’m not happy about the results not necessarily since I’ve been at the club because last season was about keeping the team in the league and we did that.
”Now it’s about improving the results and performances and getting them up to a decent level. We’re seven points off mid-table or one point off the bottom but it depends how you want to look at it.
”Some will see it as doom and gloom but I am more optimistic and feel that if we play like we did in the first half [at West Brom] and begin to be more consistent then we will get good results and be in mid-table before you know it.”
Clement on the performance
“It’s our heaviest defeat of the season - but in terms of the way we played, it doesn’t feel like it is. The performance - especially in the first half - was really positive. We contained them really well, we scored our goal early, and we had a couple of other good chances as well.
“So we could have come in at the break with a bigger advantage and better scoreline, because we had played well in the first half. I told the players that, because they deserved praise after what they had done in the first half.
“In the second half, they came out and put more intensity into the game and they were more powerful. They are a really good side and they’re right at the top of the division; they’re the highest scoring team and they have Premier League quality all over the pitch. And we have them a tough game.
“But in the second half we couldn’t contain them. From an attacking perspective, they showed the ability they have. You give them a bit of space or if they get the ball around your box, they have height, power and technically good players.”
Clement on mistakes
“I’m not going to criticise the players through the media - I will speak to them honestly privately.
“But I think Sam Walker will look at that (first goal) - and for his size and stature - the first one is a ball he should do better with - whether he can catch it or not I don’t know. But he’s got to get better contact on it. That’s just one example, we could go through all the goals.
“We have to draw on the positives from the performance.
“It was always going to be difficult and after the way we played in the first half I thought we were going to get something. But they were a bit too strong for us in the end and congratulation to them because they are a good side.”
Clement on being one point off the bottom of the Championship
“In points and in terms of performances it’s not where we’d hope to expect to be. After the first batch of games we picked up two points - the second run of games we’ve picked up seven points so it’s better but it’s still not good enough.
“We have to look to improve again after the next international break. I don’t think there will be an overnight remedy to the performances and results, it’s going to be step by step.
“But if you look at that stat there has been an improvement but it’s still not as much as we would like it to be so we have to try and do that in the next run of games.”
Clement on recent results
“The results were not good in the past two games. The performance against QPR was poor and even though the margin of defeat against West Brom was our biggest of the season, I don’t think the performance was the worst this season.”
Has Paul Clement got his post-match comments right? Let us know below in the comments.