The Royals had an extremely disappointing evening at the SCL Stadium after a 2-1 defeat to Preston North End.
After a quiet first half, Preston took the lead early in the second half through Ched Evans. Paul Ince then made a triple substitution, including bringing on Lucas Joao and Shane Long for Andy Carroll and Yakou Meite. Joao equalised from the penalty spot but Evans scored the winner late on to secure North End all three points.
Manager Ince felt our performance looked jaded, sloppy and tired. Here is what he had to say, he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Ince on the defeat
“We didn’t deserve to win the game. Especially in the first half we looked tired, jaded, sloppy – giving the ball away under no pressure whatsoever. There was nothing really between the two teams. We came in at half-time at 0-0, a scrappy game, nothing exciting, and you thought one goal might win it.
“I told the lads at half-time: that’s not acceptable. I know they’re tired and they’ve had three games in a week. But at home, in front of our fans, when we won’t see them again for a month… I wanted them to up the intensity and get going individually and collectively try to get the crowd going.
“And in fairness the fans stuck with us, at they always do at this ground.
“We’re not a team that has a lot of possession. But we’re a team that is structured, gets second balls, gets quality into the box. None of those things were there in the first half.
“They got the first goal – but we got back into it with the penalty, and then we looked like we were going to get the winner. The goal lifted us – we were on the ascendency.
“But then we make a couple of mistakes, we didn’t go with runners, and you’re 2-1 down. I think a draw would have been a fair result, but they’ve come away with three points. That’s not acceptable. I know we’re tired, but they looked fresh, hungry, like they wanted to win the game. And we looked tired as a team.
“The biggest thing for me when I looked back at the Luton game was people not going with their runners. And that’s what happened today with the second goal. We don’t go with runners and we don’t get in front of the ball to stop the shot.
“Our mistakes are getting punished. But it’s about the details. You have to get the details right. And it’s not just that. There wasn’t any cohesion to our play, no patterns.
“If we come away with a point, then it’s a point. But don’t lose the game from there.
“But now it’s onto the next. We’ve got a few days’ rest and we have to freshen it up when we go to Watford.”
Ince on our attacking performance
“The overall game - the retention of the ball up front was poor, bouncing off people, trying to go from back to front too quickly. Sometimes when you have Carroll up there you think you have to go up there with two or three passes but sometimes you have to keep the ball to get a breather. We have a tendency to always want to go into Carroll and that’s something me as the manager has to look at.
“From an attacking point of view, we looked tired up front. We got the spark from Lucas’ goal after he came on and we looked like we’d win it but you’ve still got to make sure we don’t lose the game and that’s poor from us”