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Paul Clement On Reading’s Winning Response Against Preston

The gaffer’s thoughts on Reading’s defending and organisation, the importance of the win and the fans.

Aston Villa v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

With Barnsley picking up three points on Saturday afternoon, it made our game against Preston even bigger, and the Royals didn’t buckle under the pressure. Reading made a great start with Mo Barrow scoring early in the first half.

Overall, our performance in the first 45 minutes was good and, although Preston came out in the second half and dominated, the Royals held on for another important three points. That's six points out of nine possible since Clement has been in charge.

Plus, the atmosphere was great at the Madejski Stadium, which pushed the boys through to the final whistle.

Clement knew how important that result was, and he told the Official Club Website:

“That’s what it is all about... getting the results. That’s the stage we’re at. We’ve got five games to go now and a win was important - especially with Barnsley getting the late winner which pushed them two behind us.

“We had to respond. It wasn’t pretty at times but we did enough to get over the line.

“It wasn’t dissimilar to the QPR win here on Good Friday, where we got ahead early on and then they had more of the ball, getting a lot of balls into the box.

“But the way we’re defending, particularly our penalty area, has been really good.

“When you stay compact, you’re more together and you’re getting in the right positions - if the opposition get shots in from range, you’re getting blocks in, if they’re getting crosses into the box, you’ve got players in the right positions to head the ball away.”

The manager also praised both fans and players for the part they played in the win.

“[Preston] came close on a couple of occasions, hit the post from the free kick and then had that big chance with the header. But it went our way and we got there in the end... with the help of the fans.

“What I hope everyone can see is the players are giving their best effort. They’re trying to close people down, they’re determined, they’re aggressive - we saw it against QPR and we saw it here this afternoon.

“And you need that in a relegation battle... you need men, people who are going to take responsibility and these players are doing that.”

He also suggested that Reading’s emphasis right now is very much on maximising their points tally before the end of the season, and he doesn’t mind how

“Of course we’d like to have more of the ball and create more of the ball and create more chances, and that’s something to look at moving ahead in the medium to long-term. But right now it’s about winning football matches.

“We’ve got five games to go now and we’ve got to believe we can get points in all of those games if we prepare right and our mentality is strong.

“We’ve got a big game up next - Fulham away - they’re flying at the moment, hunting down second place, so we know it’s going to be a difficult game. But it’s the next opportunity for us to add points to our tally.”

Now you’ve read this, read Ben Warden’s player ratings from the 1-0 victory as Liam Moore and Tiago Ilori impress at the back.