It has been a bit of a strange week for the Royals with Mark Bowen leaving the club and Veljko Paunovic starting his role as our new manager. Although the league doesn’t start until next week, Reading were in Carabao Cup action against Colchester United at the Madejski.
With Paunovic currently in quarantine, it was down to Eddie Niedzwiecki and John O’Shea to lead the team to a 3-1 victory and into the next round. The first half was poor, with Colchester going 1-0 up through Jevani Brown. Lucas Joao scored an equaliser just before half time to take us in level, and he then went on to complete the perfect hat-trick, putting Reading into round two with a 3-1 win.
O’Shea on the game
“As a fitness workout for us it was very good but it was also positive for us in terms of the result as well. These cup ties, as we all know, can be very tricky - playing against a team a couple of leagues below us, their confidence is high and they come here thinking they could cause an upset.
“We reminded the boys before the game of what cup ties against lower-league opposition can be like. They’re always really up for it, positive and they tried to cause us lots of problems. And they did initially.
“But we adapted and coped with it. And Lucas Joao got the all important goals. Getting that first one just before half-time I thought was very important to give us confidence going into the second half.
“If we don’t get that one back, Colchester’s tails would have been up going into the second half and although we would have backed ourselves to get a couple of goals still, it would be been more difficult if we’d gone in behind.
“But the goal gave us that extra belief. When we were rushing ourselves we played into Colchester’s hand a little bit, but when we were nice and sharp with our passing we were able to cut them open.
“And we could have scored a couple more from set pieces in the second half - Josh Laurent was unlucky a few times getting on the end of some excellent deliveries from Michael Olise.
“And special mention to the young lads making their debuts today - Luke Southwood in goal, Ethan Bristow at left-back and Nahum coming on up top nearly marked his debut with a goal too.
“So there were plenty of pleasing signs and lots of positives to take going into the league season next weekend.”
O’Shea on Joao’s hat-trick
“Everyone is aware if he puts the work rate in along with the talent then he is a fantastic striker. We need to keep him fit. He’s a real top personality in the dressing room and if he does stay fit he is a big asset.”
O’Shea on the past week
“When you get the chance to train or play that’s what it’s all about and whatever happens around the place it’s happening. You have to make sure the players are focused.
“They’re asking questions about different things but we have to make sure they’re concentrated on whatever’s happening because people are watching on the pitch, on the training ground and how you are reacting to certain situations.
“It’s football and we have to get on with it.”
O’Shea on new boss Paunovic
“He’s a real positive fella with a real positive approach to football. I’m sure everyone will be excited to hear from him. He can’t wait to get involved and get more of his ideas over to everyone and to get things in place. When you get appointed like this you want to put your stamp on as soon as you can.”
O’Shea on Bowen’s exit
“Mark can be very proud of how he worked as the Reading manager. He’ll bounce back because he’s a real football person, an experienced guy and he’ll be okay.”