Jaap Stam passed on media duties to assistant manager Andries Ulderink after another disappointing defeat, this time at the hands of Norwich City. It was looking as though it was doing to be a similar score line to last season, with Norwich going 2-0 up after 30 minutes, but Liam Kelly got one back shortly after.
The Canaries went 3-1 up after James Maddison dispatched a penalty after Anssi Jaakkola fouled him. Sam Smith scored his first league goal to get one back, but the Royals didn’t really create anything after.
Ulderink told the official club website after the game:
“We started the game really poorly. We played a very bad first half and we are really disappointed with that. And again we conceded two goals from corners, which is really disappointing.
“If you see how we played in the second half, we played much better. Not perfect by any means, but much improved - more possession, more aggressive, we took more initiative , defend a little bit better... although we still gave away a couple of big chances.
“We created some chances as well, scored a good goal to get back into it and in that second half we thought we could get a point.
“But the start was really poor and we have to change that, otherwise it will be very hard to get results in the run-in.
“If you can show what you show in the second half, why can’t we do it in the first half as well? Maybe it’s a mental thing caused by the pressure.
“We’re in a 100% relegation scrap. We know the situation is not good. We know where we are and how we’ve performed so far this season it’s not going to be an easy job to stay away from the relegation zone.
“We’re at the end of a heavy programme with a lot of games. So I’m happy we’ve got two weeks with no games to get a couple of players back from injury, which will help take a little bit of pressure off some of the players. And we can go from there.
“We’re not celebrating at the moment for sure, and we haven’t been celebrating for a long time. Everyone is concerned - it’s not like we can simply say we need to do this and then everything will be solved. So we know it’s going to be a tough last eight games and we have to fight.
“It’s a difficult job at the moment, that’s for sure. But we are still confident as a group that we can turn it around.”