2018 has been a tough year for Reading fans so far, but the Madejski Stadium atmosphere was back to its best on Good Friday after an eventful 1-0 victory against QPR. The game really did have it all: a fantastic goal by Sone Aluko, a red card for Yann Kermorgant and a superb penalty save in injury time by Vito Mannone to give the Royals an important three points in Paul Clement’s first game in charge.
Speaking after the game, the new boss told the official club website:
“I’m happy for the fans and I’m happy for the players, because it’s not been an easy time that they’ve been through. They got what they deserved today.
“We were under pressure at times, of course, and we had the penalty save at the end. But I said to the players in the dressing room that the goal and the save were worthy match-winning incidents.
“And I’m more pleased with the effort and determination that was shown all over the pitch. The players were working hard, working for each other, making tackles and blocks, dealing with adversity. They showed that they were up for the battle.
“And, with all of those things, we got over the line. So I’m really pleased.”
Aluko silenced his critics for the time being as he scored a cracking winner, but all of the players put in brilliant performances with blocks being made all over the place to make sure we held on. Clement added:
“We started brightly and we fully deserved to go ahead... it was a fantastic goal.
“After that, the team went a bit negative - I think that’s normal under the circumstances, to try and go safe and go defensive. We had a poor period then and we spoke about those things at half-time.
“And it was a battling performance overall. I was expecting them to put in a shift and they did.
“So we have to say ‘well done’ to the players, for all the effort they put in over the week and their focus on today’s game.
“And we got the three points we needed. With the way that the other results went today, it has been a good weekend for us so far.
“But this is just the start. We’ve got seven more games, and every game has got to be at least like that... and maybe even better.”
The 46-year-old’s final words of the day were for the fans. After a disappointing season so far, the Madejski was rocking again like it should be, and he said:
“The crowd were brilliant today. They came in their numbers on this really wet Friday evening, so a big ‘thank you’ to them.
“I hope they liked the performance of their team and what we need is for them to come back next week when we’re at home again to Preston.”
Next up for the Royals is a trip to Aston Villa on Tuesday evening. Stay tuned to TTE for pre-match and post-match coverage!