With Barnsley losing and Derby County picking up a draw, it was important to extend our points advantage with a win against Blackburn Rovers at the SCL Stadium. Josh Laurent was the hero of the afternoon, scoring a stunner with just over 10 minutes to go. This now leaves us five points ahead of the relegation zone.
Interim manager Paul Ince was proud of the performance that his team put in. He spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Ince on Laurent’s goal
“It was a wonder goal. If you want a goal to win a 1-0 game, that was it. I think Tom (Ince) is a little bit gutted to be fair because everyone was talking about his goal at Bournemouth and now that’s been surpassed by Josh’s! Personally, I thought he’d overhit it and then I saw the keeper diving for it. It was a wonderful strike.
“But defensively we were outstanding. The keeper made some important saves and the back four had to defend at times because it got a little bit nervy.
“It was so important to get something today, especially after looking at the results in the early kick-offs. Having seen what Barnsley and Derby did in the 12.30 kick offs, we knew what we had to so this afternoon.”
Ince on the performance
“We should have been 3-0 up at half-time with the chances we had – but we need to be more ruthless. That way it makes it a much easier day for the old ticker!
“We started off a little bit slow, I think we were a bit apprehensive. And maybe, having seen the other teams not get the points they needed earlier in the day, we felt a bit of pressure of our own.
“But we grew into the game after 15 minutes or so and we could have put the game to bed. And when you don’t take your chances, you worry you’re going to get punished for it.
“But the lads have got an incredible spirit about them. We’ve had a tough, tough week – going to Forest, then Bournemouth and then Blackburn here. If you’d said to me we’d take four points from these three games this week, I would have snapped your hand off.
“We outplayed Bournemouth in midweek with our football. And Blackburn are another very good side, going for the play-offs but today we needed to dig in. So to get a result like today’s was important.
“We’ve had Covid and illnesses, so they’ve put in a really good shift this week. There is a long way to go. We’ve got a massive game after this international break at Barnsley. But I’m proud of them today.”
Ince on the fight and resilience
“It’s massively important and the Reading fans played their part. The fans were fantastic, they’re our 12th man and spurred the lads on. There are always moments in games where momentum changes. Overall, it’s been a great week.”
Ince on facing Barnsley next
“We outplayed Bournemouth from a football point of view - I thought we deserved three points. We saw a different side of Reading today. We had to dig in, put our bodies on the line and fight.
“Forest was disappointing, we capitulated and it was back to the old Reading team. There is a sense of fight now, togetherness and spirit. We’ve got some very good players so if we can put it all together in different ways [we’ll do well].
“Barnsley will be tough, on a difficult pitch but we have something going - we have momentum and hopefully we will be okay.”
Ince on Forest being a reality check
“It wasn’t a reality check. The player have to understand that every team has a structure. You don’t play gung ho, running all over the pitch and not stick to your positions.
“We were structured against Birmingham but it went back to the old Reading at Forest. It was a learning curve for them and after I went mad in the changing room.
“The three games were tough games, we don’t have a big squad so it was tough, but to get four points is good for the lads.”
Ince on Meite injury
“Meite is fine. We don’t have time for injured players! We have to get over the injuries and get playing. We’ve got eight games to go so we haven’t got time to worry about niggly injuries. We have to stick together and try and get the points we need.”
“I didn’t plan to use him so early. I’m not sure the situation with Rinomhota’s knee, hopefully, it’s not as bad as we think.
“We’re lucky it’s come in the international break so we might have more time to get him right because he’s pivotal to what we want to do in the middle of the park.
“But credit to Swifty, he only trained for a couple of days but put in a shift. It’s good to have him back because he is a quality player.”