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Paul Clement Praises Reading’s Spirit in Stoke City Draw

The manager’s take on the 2-2 draw, including praise for Marc McNulty.

Reading v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images

There was plenty of excitement at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon after the Royals scored an extra time goal through Mo Barrow to secure an important point against Stoke City. Paul Clement made lots of changes for the game due to a large amount of injuries. One incomer, Marc McNulty, started and scored his first goal for the Royals just before half-time - after his eventful evening on Tuesday.

Stoke came out strong in the second half though and scored through Benik Afobe shortly after half-time. Tom Ince scored to put City ahead, but Mo Barrow scored a late equaliser.

Here is what Paul Clement had to say after the game when he spoke to the official club website and Football.London.

Clement on the match

“Stoke are a good side. And I’m sure they’ll feel disappointed with the timing of our equaliser. They thought they’d won it - it was a good finish by Tom Ince. On their day they have players who are very good at this level and at the next level as well – they have Premier League footballers.

”But we were pushing to get back into the game, having gone behind, and we had a good couple of chances late in the second half. There were a couple of crosses that flashed across the face of their six-yard box and then Jack Butland made a good save to deny Yakou Meite.”

Clement on the players not giving up

”The players didn’t feel sorry for themselves. They kept going and kept going. It was the 94th minute - so it came late! And it’s a good feeling to get at least a point out of the game. The players have got to be like that every game. I’m pleased with the spirit, personality, determination and courage in the last two games.

”We’ve played two really good sides this week, both tipped to go up – and we’ve shown that we can compete at that level. Now we’ve got to show that we can do that on a consistent basis. We have to do it consistently throughout games as well, because I thought we were good in the first half, not so good at the start of the second half, and then finished strong.”

Clement on Marc McNulty

“I’m sure Marc was thinking about a lot of things – that he hasn’t started so many games, that he hadn’t scored in a competitive game for us, and the penalty at Leeds. Today he was given that chance.

”And I was really pleased for him. You could see that his teammates were pleased for him too. I think the fans were pleased for him too. He’s a really honest professional. He gets his head down, he works every day. It was a great moment when he scored his goal – a nice moment for him.”

Clement on injured players

“Kelly was ill overnight and Moore picked up his problem at Leeds. He was determined to play and trained on Friday morning but it was too sore.

“O’Shea has aggravated his hamstring so we’ve gone from four central defenders to one very quickly. Blackett did well and McIntyre was on the bench so we do have players who can come in and do a job.”

Clement on misplaced passes

“We got a bit casual. Stoke gave us space and time to build and we used the ball really well in the first half. I said at half time not to get casual and try to squeeze the ball through spaces which aren’t there.

“They were trying to get the ball into Loader and McCleary but Stoke stopped us. We didn’t finish the first half as strong as the start and we didn’t start the second half as strong as we finished it.”

Clement on four wins in 20 games

“The concern is our position in the league. We’re still not clear of it and my view is if you string together performances then results will follow.

“You can’t say in the last two away games we’ve played poorly. We’ve picked up one point in six but we haven’t played poorly. If we continue to play well then results will follow, I’m convinced of that - that’s the objective now.”

Clement on turning things round

“I don’t go home every night and say we’ve won four out of 20. I don’t tell the players or Gianluca Nani that.

“I never even mention that. We work on trying to improve on what’s under our control and sooner or later we’ll be saying we’ve won the last five or six. We’re still working on performances.”

Has Clement got his post-match assessment right? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.