Yann Kermorgant has criticised former Reading manager Paul Clement for being too ‘nice’ when the Royals were fighting relegation last season. Speaking exclusively to The Tilehurst End, the Frenchman discussed how he never got along with the 47-year-old:
“I’ve got to be honest. I didn’t have a great feeling when he came in. Without saying what he said, the way he spoke for the first time, the way he wanted to manage, was not something I was pleased about to be honest with you. I had a bad feeling. Because when you are in that situation [a relegation battle], sometimes you need some fight and when you train you need some reaction, which we didn’t have.
“When it started to get a bit hot [fiery] sometimes at training, he was not happy. Some players thought that we weren’t positive enough and that we had to speak better to each other and to be nice. But sometimes you can’t be nice, because we were losing and close to going down. Sometimes you have to make a big tackle, be a man.
“There were two parts of the squad. Guys who showed character, and sometimes you talk, you scream, you tackle and sometimes it’s not maybe nice, but I think we needed that and the gaffer just didn’t get that.
“You could see he started to get rid of the guys who had a bit of character, maybe too much character for him, and that’s something I felt wasn’t great because we needed character, we needed guys who would be ready for the fight. After, at the end of the season, I didn’t think we could work together.”
Darren Bent, who worked under Clement at Derby County, said similar about the manager on Sky Sports last August, claiming that he “didn’t like confrontation”.
Kermorgant left Reading last summer, despite still having one year left on his contract. He had scored just twice in 27 games in 2017/18 as the Royals survived relegation on the final day with a 0-0 draw at Cardiff. He explained what was behind his decision to depart:
“I started to be fed up with some of my teammates’ reaction or mentality. Plus the new manager was about being nice, and sometimes in football you need characters. I felt like the guys like Macca [Paul McShane] or Joey Van Den Berg or me, we had a bit of character and he didn’t like that. But for me you want guys who you can go to war with.”
Moreover, the Frenchman is not shocked that Reading have had another poor season:
“I keep an eye on the results every weekend. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised at all. That's why I left and decided to go home because I didn’t think the club was taking the right direction.
“I knew it would not be a good season with Clement but not only him and because of his decisions, but there are players who’ve been given too much importance I think. And I can see the season has started very bad, and after he’s been given the sack because the results were not there and for me that was not a surprise.”
You can listen to our full interview with Yann Kermorgant now, by downloading it on iTunes, Podbean, YouTube or wherever else you get your podcasts!