The Royals continued their fine form with an excellent 3-1 victory against Huddersfield Town at the SCL Stadium.
Tom McIntyre gave Reading the lead in the 29th minute before a Huddersfield own goal doubled our lead. Yakou Meite scored in the second half to secure three points to remain third in the table. Huddersfield scored a consolation right at the end.
Manager Paul Ince was delighted with the victory but was keen to keep our feet grounded. Here is what he had to say, he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Ince on the victory
“We were very good in the first half. We’ve got a habit of starting slow at home for some reason, and I told the players before the game: we need to be on the front foot. Especially against a team like Huddersfield who were coming here a bit low on confidence… we had to get at them. And we did.
“For 45 minutes we were excellent. I was concerned after 20 minutes that we might not get that elusive goal. But we got it, and a second one. We were totally in control.
“The second half was disappointing. We sat on our laurels and tried to protect our lead. You always say that no two halves are the same, but that’s what it was. They came onto us and started pushing us back.
“Even then I felt comfortable and when we got the third it was game, set and match. The only disappointment is conceding the goal. We defended well and our players were throwing themselves into situations for that clean sheet. So to lose a goal like that, I’m disappointed. I told them that – you have to keep your focus, keep your concentration. We got carried away and stopped doing the right things.
“It’s not just me being finicky. As well as we played in the first half, we didn’t play well in the second. You want the players to have the clean sheet, which breeds confidence.
“But overall it was a great performance – we got three points at home, and they have a new manager and that can give them a lift. I told our players: this is a good team, don’t underestimate them. And we didn’t.”
Ince on Nesta Guinness-Walker
“Nesta is still young and he’s still learning. Because of the situation at the start of the season, we needed a left wing-back in – and to be fair to him he has done well when he’s played.
“He’s still learning. But he’s a great pro. You watch him in training and he’s always doing extra, he wants to do more, and he wants to show me that he can step into the team when he gets an opportunity. He lasted 95 minutes today and that’s a credit to himself – he does the right things and keeps himself fit by doing extra.
“This is an opportunity for him. We’ll be missing Baba for a month and this is an opportunity for him to cement his place. He’s a lovely kid.”
Ince on Meite scoring his first goal since May 2021
“I’m pleased for Yakou. I wasn’t sure last year. But he’s come back this season as a completely different person. It was disappointing because in pre-season he was looking fantastic and then got another injury.
“But what he did is remained a team player. He didn’t change his attitude. You see him in the canteen laughing and joking… he is the joker in the pack!
“I’m seeing a different Yakou from what I saw last year and that’s a credit to him as a person.”
Ince on Andy Yiadom’s injury
“I don’t know. It’s been a bad couple of days for us as we lost Baba Rahman on Thursday so he’s out for a month. Yiadom is still with the doctor now so we can’t afford to lose him.
“It would be another massive blow for us. We’ll get the diagnosis on Sunday and hopefully it will be okay but it’s not looking good.”
Ince on Andy Carroll
“I was pleased with the strikers and at times we can do better at retaining the ball but for Carroll, he wants to be on the park. I asked him at half time how long he could play and he said another 45 which typifies his attitude.
“He’s a great pro, a leader and that’s what we need. We need that spirit and leadership and it was good to get him 70 minutes. It’s about getting minutes on the pitch for the players. It’s all hands to the pump now.”