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Paul Ince Criticises Deep Defending And ‘Diabolical’ Officiating In Cardiff Loss

The gaffer’s thoughts on a game in which Reading started well, but dropped too deep after the break and came away with nothing.

Reading v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by David Horton - CameraSport via Getty Images

Reading’s good run of form is over after a 2-1 defeat to Cardiff City at the SCL Stadium.

Lucas Joao gave Reading the lead in the seventh minute but Cardiff came back early in the second half through Alfie Doughty. The visitors took all three points with Will Vaulks scoring the winner in the 84th minute. Other results went our way yesterday, with Reading remaining eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Interim boss Paul Ince felt that the Royals had missed an opportunity and would have to live with that frustration. Here is what he had to say - he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.

Ince on the defeat

“We were dominant in the first half and should have put the game to bed. We had a couple of golden opportunities and we could and should have come in 3-0 up at half-time. And I could have put my feet up!

“We came out in the second half and we start defending deep, which was madness. We did it against Stoke on Tuesday too, we retreated back like Barnsley did against us at their place.

“And when you start defending so deep you can always leave yourself open. But the game changes with their first goal which came from a diabolical decision from the referee - Lucas Joao was clearly dragged back, he didn’t give the foul, they got straight up the other end and score.

“Whether he’s 6’4 or 5’4, he was pulled over. And then I’m not sure if the lad is offside or not too. When you are in the situation we are, the importance of the referees making the right decisions is paramount. We’ve got to live with that frustration.

“We got pulled out of our structure for the second goal which is disappointing. But we should have got the second goal ourselves in the first half and made our lives much, much easier. We weren’t ruthless.

Ince on the referee

“That’s where you need your leaders to get you up the park but the whole thing hinged on a diabolical decision by the referee.

“It was pathetic. Lucas is clearly being dragged down and the boy looks like he’s offside for the second phase. All you ask is that referees do their jobs properly, especially now when you’re trying to stay in the league.

“You want to rely on referees to make the right decision and it was blatant. The linesman didn’t flag. As much as I’m frustrated with the second half, I’m very disappointed with the referee. A diabolical decision.

“He didn’t make the right decision and that changes the dynamic of the whole game. We might’ve come in here with a point instead of no points. It’s alright for him to go back and stick his feet up watching Match of the Day and won’t think about it again but we’ve got to go and think about it.

“This is the business part of the season where referees have to get it right. It’s not just Reading, Rooney could be saying the same thing and so could Barnsley, but we’re the ones who get punished.”

Ince on Steve Morison’s ‘upper hand’ claim and whether he knew the starting line up ahead of time.

“I didn’t know. When I did my presentation, I had Flint playing, Harris was playing, to say that is rubbish. I don’t know who leaked it but I didn’t know the side until this afternoon.

“Once I saw the changes it surprised me. We had the upper hand because we were the better team in the first half, nothing to do with leaking anything. He must be next to the ref because they’re both in cuckoo land at the minute.

“They baffle me. We thought they were going to go 5-3-2 but they didn’t.”

Ince on injury woes

“We’re down to the bare bones. Yakou is still out. Swifty has got a calf that could keep him out for a couple of weeks. Tom Dele is having a scan. These players have played three in a week.”

Ince on the relegation scrap

“Ideally it would have been nice to get seven in those three games but if you’d have told me at the City Ground after getting annihilated that we’d be sat here with five games to go eight points clear you’d snap their hands off.

“The boys have done a great job. They’re down to the bare bones but they’re fighting, that’s why they’re so disappointed. Fortunately for us the teams below us lost. There’s going to be twists and turns, we’ve got Sheffield United who are going for the play-offs and Swansea who are playing some good stuff. We won’t lose any confidence.

“We’re disappointed because it was a good opportunity to pull away from the rest but sometimes you’ve got to be grateful for small mercies. Barnsley have a game in hand so its all to play for. What we need to do this week is how to manage when we go a goal in front, not dropping back and letting teams come onto us.

“We need to be brave, go up the park and go for the second. Today we didn’t do that and we were punished, and we were almost punished on Tuesday. You can’t be too high when you win and too low when you lose, the objective is still in our hands.”