Reading came away from Hertfordshire pointless after a 2-0 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road.
Joao Pedro’s double was enough for all three points with Reading not really offering much going forward with just one shot on target. Reading are now 13th, five points off the play-offs and six points from the relegation zone.
Manager Paul Ince said there was a difference in quality with Watford still having a lot of their side from the Premier League. Here is what he had to say, he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Ince on the defeat
“We gave it a go. We’re not at the same level of quality that Watford are at this moment in time – that might take us a few years.
“At times we played some good stuff… we just lacked that cutting edge.
“These are talented, Premier League players that we’re playing against – and then we make a stupid foul in the penalty area when you need to stay on your feet. Individual mistakes and ill-discipline are costing us.
“We couldn’t get to grips with them at first – but then we found our feet and we looked good at times. I was fuming about giving away the penalty but on the whole I was pleased at half-time because we were well and truly in the game. And I asked the lads to take the game to them.
“The game is all about moments. It was the 87th minute when they go their second, after we’d gone to 4-4-2 to try to grab something from the game. One is a stupid foul, and the other is getting caught when we’re chasing an equaliser.
“At times we showed our naivety and we made poor decisions that could have cost us, and we were rash at times. But come the end of the season, it won’t be these games we’re judged on – it’ll be the teams around us. So to take a positive, we’ve competed today against a top, top side.
“I’ve always said that this will be a tough season for us and we need to stay in this league – that’s the priority. I know people got carried away with the start we had – that lifted expectations, but I’ve always said: we need to pick up as many points as we can.”
Ince on decision-making
“We had one shot on target. The performance didn’t disappoint me, it was the decision-making. You can’t do anything about it as a manager. If a player wants to make those decisions... the best players make the best decisions. The lower you go, the worse the decisions get.
“Some of the decision-making left me dumbfounded at times - [I am thinking] what do you see when you make that decision? But they did try, gave their all, Rahman was excellent. It’s always a tough place to come. We’ve played six out of the top nine now so we won’t be judged on Watford, Burnley and teams like that. It’s teams around us where we need to pick up points against.”
Ince on injuries
“Not many teams will win at Watford so it’s not a concern. If you look at the team and where we are as a club - we lost McIntyre on Monday and Lumley tonight - so the lads have to keep just fighting. We’ll see where we are in March, that’s how it has to be.
“We have to be positive, we can’t be glass half full. We know where we are, we are under an embargo, our squad is depleted and by December 10, hopefully we will have Sarr back, Moore back, Lumley back so we will have a stronger and more experienced squad.”
Ince on the fans
“The fans have always been great in their appreciation of where we are as a club. I get it – every fan wants to go home having seen us won the game. I’m a winner myself and I want to win games. I don’t like losing games, and the lads in the dressing room don’t like to lose either.
“But the fans understand where we are. It’ll be a fight to the end and we need our fans behind us. And they are behind us – they clapped us off at the end. 2,000 fans came up here and we want to put in the performance for them.
“And if we can try and give our all, that’s what we can give. We don’t have the quality of the likes of Watford and Burnley – that’s what we want to aim for. Stay in the league, get the embargo lifted, and start building.
“Until then, as a club and as fans, let’s keep getting behind the team and supporting them, and try to get the points that we need to keep ourselves in this league.”