Jaap Stam has said he is thankful to Reading for giving him an opportunity to manage in England. Speaking to Dutch football magazine ELF Voetbal at his home in Twyford, the 46-year-old admitted that “we actually performed above expectations” before discussing the poor performances of the 2017/18 season that led to his sacking in March:
“For the second season we indicated to the staff and to the players that we had to make steps and work even harder,” he said. “But opponents also played against us more aggressively. I hoped the owners would invest, but that did not happen enough.
“We noticed that some players were at their limit. The football remained fine to good, but that did not always result in victories. We also conceded many goals because of individual errors. As a result, you saw the confidence disappear from some boys. If results are not forthcoming, the credit for a manager stops once. That is part of the job and I am also not embittered about the dismissal.
“I am just grateful that Reading gave us a chance to work in England. You have seen the same names rotate for years in the English managerial circuit.”
Stam’s possession philosophy was criticised by many Royals supporters, especially towards the end of his time in charge, but the Dutchman speaks proudly of the way his side played:
“We received compliments for our method. Our playing style is included in the coaching course of the English Football Association. The nice thing was that boys thirty years and older and internationals from Ireland and Wales [Paul McShane, Chris Gunter etc] got better and said they were sorry that they had not worked with us before.”
So what next for Stam?
“Andries [Ulderink], Saïd [Bakkati] and I would like to work together again somewhere. We click very well. Andries has a lot of experience in the trainer field and can plan well and Saïd is a good analyst.
“[I would like to manage] in the Championship or in the Premier League. I doubt that this summer is going to happen. All the jobs are now occupied. When the season starts though, managers can go quickly.
“I have already had offers, but they came from China and the Middle East. I’m not waiting for that. The big money is not worth it. There are people who say they go that way for a sporting challenge or to build something. But sheikhs do not give you the time to work for years. And if you sometimes see images from Qatar or the Emirates, you only see empty stands.”
To read the full interview, where Stam talks about the royal wedding, living in Berkshire, his love of rock music and more, click here.