Fight. Character. Desire. This was how the official club Twitter page described our deserved 3-2 win against Preston at Deepdale on Saturday afternoon. The Royals took the lead in the first half through Sam Baldock but Daniel Johnson equalised before half time. Tiago Ilori put the Royals ahead again but Callum Robinson scored to put the score to 2-2. It seemed to be business as usual, but fight, character and desire helped the Royals take all three points back to Berkshire thanks to Leandro Bacuna’s late winner.
Paul Clement was a very happy man after his side’s victory, telling the official club website and GetReading:
“It’s a nice feeling. We haven’t had too many wins for quite a while, so it’s nice to have that winning feeling. And it was a good, fighting performance. I’m delighted for all the players.”
Clement on getting the win
“We were 2-0 up at Blackburn and they came back to 2-2. So we know how that feels. But I thought it was really important that today, in both situations when it went from 1-0 to 1-1 and from 2-1 to 2-2 - that we continued to believe we were going to win.
“We had to work hard for it. It was a close game, very fine margins again - just like the first six games in the league campaign. Fortunately we were able to get those little details right and that saw us over the line.”
Clement on the performance
“It wasn’t the perfect performance, we conceded two and I can’t say we dominated. What we did do was play in a very competitive game and we came out just on top.”
Clement on using the victory as a stepping board
“We’ve got to use this as a catalyst to move forward. The first six games of the season were close. We had two draws and four losses, but in every game we played we were in amongst it. We could have had more points for sure. But we didn’t.
“We didn’t feel sorry for ourselves though. We didn’t sulk, we got on with it, continued to work and we’ve come away to a difficult place and we’ve taken three massive points.
“But we’ve got to use that now. We’ve got two home games against Norwich and Hull in the week ahead - and it would be nice now to back this win up with two good performances and more good results.
“So those six games before the international break have been boxed off. And we’ve started the next block of games very positively. And we look to use this win as a catalyst.”
Clement on what needs improving
“There are 100 things from this game we need to do better on but 100 things we did really well. There will always be things to improve on - we showed some nice details which we executed well and make the difference.”
Clement on Sam Walker’s performance
“He did some really good things - a lot of things were at him but you have to be in the right position. It was a good performance - he kicked the ball well and he has some presence because of this size.
“We thought Vito Mannone would be okay - he had an impact injury which he had scanned and there was some damage. He’s likely to be out for the next two games.”
Clement on Modou Barrow and Tyler Blackett missing out
“Barrow travelled but at 2am he went back to Reading because him and his wife are expecting a new born baby imminently. Blackett has a minor hamstring injury.”
Clement on Tiago Ilori and Leandro Bacuna’s goals
“Ilori said his goal may have come off a Preston player. But it was a well-worked set play.
“I’m not sure what Bacuna was doing in the six-yard box, but he timed it well and was in the right place at the right time. The spaces opened up and we capitalised on it.”
Clement on Gianluca Nani
“He is a very supportive guy and has a lot of positivity about him. He has experience so I am really looking forward to working with him.
“The only way we will do well at the club is if it is a collective effort - working together at all levels. That’s happening and it’s very early days between me and Gianluca but he has already brought us some good luck.”
Did Paul Clement get his post-match assessment right? Tell us in the comments.