Going into this week, I think all Reading fans would have been pleased to be leaving both Ewood Park and Villa Park with a point, and that’s exactly what happened. Aston Villa took the lead in the second half through Ahmed Elmohamady on Saturday, but Sam Baldock had the perfect opportunity to draw us level - only for a superb save by Orjan Nyland to keep Villa ahead.
It didn’t look like it was going to be our day but a tackle in the box on Josh Sims in the final minutes gave the Royals the opportunity to get back into the game, and Baldock stepped up to secure a massive point for Reading.
“I’m really pleased for the players - and proud of them. They put a lot of effort into the game, and if we’d lost by that narrow margin of 1-0 I’d be really feeling for them because they put so much into it.”
Clement on the result
“Every game you have an opportunity to take all three points and that’s what we really needed. But Aston Villa are a really good side who have made a good start and have fantastic backing so it’s a bit like Blackburn where it’s a good point for us.
“I learned a lot about the team, especially when we had the good chance with Baldock on 83 minutes - it was a fantastic double save from their goalkeeper.
“The players didn’t fold and kept going until the end. I don’t know whether it was a penalty because I’ve not seen it back. We had one go against us Midweek but the fact is this one was given. Baldock stepped up well, took the pressure and got us the point.
“I’m proud of the players for their determination under difficult circumstances because we were under a lot of pressure.”
Clement on giving away chances in the second half
“It would be unrealistic to limit a team like Villa to virtually nothing. That’s where you have to be as good as you can be with the defending. We didn’t get off to the best start and couldn’t get beyond them.
“We sustained a lot of pressure but in the second half it was a bit better. After they scored they became a bit more open and there was a lot of fatigue at the end and that’s where mistakes are made.”
Clement on moving forward
“We’ve been on the wrong end of some really fine margins. It looked like it could be that again. We were going to be beaten by one goal - no-one has beaten us by more.
“Hopefully it’s a springboard. It’s a good confidence booster, getting a point at a difficult place but it’s not about the home form.
“We want to do well in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday and then there is a very important game against Sheffield Wednesday. If we can win that then it’s a stable situation going into the international break.”
Clement on Josh Sims’ introduction
“I said to the players before the game it’s not just the 11 - it’s everybody even if you’re not on the pitch.
“You’ve got to be involved in created a good spirit and helping your teammates. Those that came on did well and made the difference.”
Clement on McShane’s absence
“Paul’s played a couple of games and with the age he is we have to make sure he’s around for the entire season.
“We didn’t want to push him too much and potentially break him because then he’s out so it was just a matter of giving him a rest. He’s available for selection so we’ll see whether I use him Wednesday.”
Clement on conceding seven goals straight after half time in his time as manager.
“I wasn’t aware of that. I’d rather not look at the timing of the goals and more that nature of them. The Villa goal was exactly something we had spoken about.
“They love to put crosses in the box - it’s easy saying it, when you’re out there, there is pressure. I don’t take note about the timing of things.
“Maybe after a greater number of games when we have more data then stats can be more telling but it’s too soon to use stats too much.”
Clement on the travelling fans
“I want to mention the fans, because what a fantastic turnout! They packed that corner, they were full of enthusiasm and really got behind the players. That was absolutely brilliant.
“So it was nice to go over to them at the end and share that point with them. It’s not a win, it’s just a point... but a valuable point from a difficult place.”
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