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Stats Corner: Paul Clement’s Ill-Fated Spell

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All the key numbers about the former boss’ time in charge.

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

So the long, drawn-out affair of Paul Clement’s ‘reign of terror’ is finally over. It’s odd that it seems like it’s taken an eternity for him to finally be given the sack, when his tenure is the joint-second shortest in Reading’s history, only after Brendan Rodgers and on par (on overall games) with Brian McDermott’s second spell.

So, who wins the battle of the ‘flash in the pan managers’? Rodgers or Clement? Well, Rodgers actually had a higher win rate than Clement at 26.09% in all competitions compared to the latter’s measly 23.33%. That stat in turn makes Clement trudge back to wherever he came from with the rather dubious title of ‘Reading’s worst ever permanent manager’!

Congratulations Paul. You finally made it! However, overall records and win percentages only tell part (if not the most important) of Clement’s time in the Reading dugout. Here are some other juicy titbits for you to enjoy and tell your mates about when you inevitably have a ‘Who hated Clement more?’ contest at our game on Saturday.

There was no spine

Under Clement, Reading never came from behind (at any stage of the match) to win a game - in any competition. Interestingly enough, Steve Clarke joins Clement in the list of managers to not win a league match after going behind, but his blushes are slightly spared by the fact we recovered from losing positions to beat both Cardiff City in the FA Cup and Portsmouth in the League Cup respectively.

In total, Paul Clement’s team salvaged just three points in total after conceding first - a habit we managed in 15 of his 28 matches. These points came in three separate draws - away to Aston Villa and Brentford and at home to Ipswich, all this season. This, however, wasn’t made any better by Reading’s inability to hang on to leads under Clement. In total, in the eleven games that Reading scored first, on only six occasions did we hold on to the lead. That’s not awful, but hardly great, especially when it wasn’t backed up by any sort of ability to turn deficits into wins.

Defending went out the window

Reading conceded 45 league goals in 27 league games under Paul Clement, an average of approximately 1.66 per match. That may not seem much, but when you think that in 2011/12 we shipped only 41 all season, and just 32 in 2005/06, it’s clear how far our defence has to improve if it’s to reach the same standards as our past title-winning sides.

Just what did he do at half time?

One stat that kept cropping up throughout his tenure was those niggly little goals we seemed to concede seemingly every game in the first few minutes of the second half. You will have heard it before, but now Clement’s gone we can finally see examine just how bad that rate of conceding in this small time-frame of the match cost us.

In total, between the 45th and 50th minute, Reading conceded six goals, with four of those strikes coming this season. Between the 51st and 55th minute another three can be added, making nine goals in total and meaning that 20% of all Reading goals conceded in the league under Paul Clement came in this spell.

Those nine goals all came in separate matches and, interestingly enough, Reading ended up managing just three points from those games; those three points coming from three separate draws, all in which Reading were winning at the time of conceding. In the other six defeats, Reading were either drawing or losing by just a single goal when the ball hit the net.

So, to put it another way, in every single match in which we conceded between the 45th and 55th minute, the result was negatively affected at a stage where the match could have gone either way. Every one of those goals directly impacted the match against the Royals’ favour, and in total led to the team dropping a total of ten points. Had we kept those ten points, Reading’s total accumulated points under Clement would have gone up by a third!

Ending on a sour note

If that’s still not enough for you to sit up and take notice, then the stat which might actually make you fall off your chair is this: our overall second-half record. In his eight games at the end of last season, 10 of the 13 goals Reading conceded came after half-time - 77%. Similarly, this season, 21 of the 32 goals we’ve let in fall into the same bracket - 65.6%.

So that means, in total, a whopping 69% of all league goals that Reading conceded under Paul Clement came in the second half. I know most goals in football generally are scored in this time frame, but that statistic is something else. When you also take into account that Reading were behind on only seven occasions at the half-time whistle, you’ve clearly got to question just what went on at half-time.

Alas, now he’s gone we’ll never find out the secret to his woeful team talks. And we’ll probably all die still wondering, our lives cut off at a loose end…