Another weekend, another 4-0 defeat, this time at the hands of Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. Interim manager Paul Ince described the defeat as embarrassing, with the Royals conceding within 18 seconds of the game starting. With our defeat, we remain in 21st, but there are now only four points between us and the drop zone.
Here is what Ince had to say after the game; he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Ince on the defeat
“I was very disappointed with the second half. It was embarrassing. You can see why this team has conceded so many goals – because they’ve got a soft underbelly.
“You set up a game plan… then after 18 seconds it’s out of the window. You can’t be conceding goals after 18 seconds. We knew about Spence, we showed the players enough stuff on him, but before you know it you’re 1-0 down.
“After the goal, I thought we were great. We had two wonderful chances, with Morro and then Josh – who I thought was outstanding considering it was his first game back. And I go in at half time and I’m not happy that we’re losing but I’m content with what I’ve seen. We’re in it. We’re in the game.
“But we concede a second goal and we capitulated. You can’t do that.
“This is a team who have been used to playing lovely football, but all of a sudden they are in a dogfight and they need to realise that. I’ve told them in no uncertain terms today that they’ve got to roll their sleeves up and fight. There weren’t enough players in that second half that did that.
“It’s hard to change the mentality in such a short space of time. But we have got to dig in. We have got to learn how to scrap. And I didn’t see that in the second half today.
“The fans who came here were fantastic. They stuck with us to the end. Our fans know the situation and we need our fans behind us.
“But to have structure, you need to communicate. We needed voices out there. In the second half, everyone started feeling sorry for themselves – I don’t like that in my team.
“We all have to roll our sleeves up. And in that second half we didn’t. We had players missing and out with Covid today, but it doesn’t mean we can battle like we did in the first half, put tackles in.
“Everyone is fighting down there. We aren’t digging in. We have to dig in for the club, for the fans, for the staff at the club. If we don’t dig in, we know where we’re going to be.”
Ince on a lack of leadership
“It’s a dying breed. Dann played his first game in eight weeks so you can see we’re down to the bare bones. Swift and Holmes have had Covid, Lucas also. We had to play players who hadn’t played for weeks.
“For structure you need communication, and communication is leadership. Open your mouths, set your demands - sometimes we’re a quiet team. We’re a lovely team when we’re winning but when we are being beaten we need to dig in. We need voices. You need togetherness and we needed that in the second half.
“Everyone started feeling sorry for themselves and that’s not my team. All of us have to roll our sleeves up - me, the staff, players.
“In the second half, they didn’t do it, and that annoys me more than anything.”
Ince on Covid hitting the squad
“Holmes has been outstanding for us. Lucas got it on Monday, Holmes and Swift on Thursday. But let’s not make excuses, we are in a dogfight. You can’t capitulate after the second goal. That is the mentality of old. They’ve got to learn quickly and we’ve got some tough games coming up.”
Ince on the relegation battle
“We need numbers back. We’re playing three games in a week. We’re depleted but it doesn’t mean we can’t roll our sleeves up, make tackles and put your foot in.
“Everyone is fighting to stay in the league. Barnsley, Derby, Peterborough...everyone is fighting. We need to dig in. If we don’t dig in, we know where we’re going to be.”
Ince on Meite playing 90 minutes
“Lucas had Covid so we had no choice. [Meite’s] not played in eight months but he got through it. That’s his first game since Peterborough but we have to be careful.”