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Paul Ince Delighted With Reading’s Belief In Late Swansea Draw

The gaffer had plenty to praise, but took some personal responsibility too for how the first half went.

Reading v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Tom McIntyre was again the hero and saved the Royals from defeat with a last-minute equaliser against Swansea City in a 4-4 thriller at the SCL Stadium.

Reading continued to fight throughout the game, despite going 4-1 down. Lucas Joao gave us the lead in the first half before Swansea equalised through Hannes Wolf. Joel Piroe gave the Swans the lead in the 12th minute before scoring again through a penalty right on half time. Michael Obafemi made it 4-1 with 58 minutes on the clock.

The comeback then started, first through Tom Ince, and then with Joao getting his second with 20 minutes left on the clock. Tom McIntyre sent the SCL wild with his 95th-minute equaliser.

Reading are now seven points ahead of Peterborough United. Derby County are 10 points behind the Royals and have been relegated to League One. Looking above, Birmingham City are just four points ahead.

Here is what Paul Ince had to the say after the draw; he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.

Ince on the result

“At 4-1 down, people would have thought it was over. Not with my players. They baffle me. You just can’t comprehend how this bunch of players can come back from that situation against a very good Swansea side. And they are a very good side.

“I think we got it wrong in the first half and that is down to myself. We stood off them and they outplayed us. I think the way Swansea set up, we allowed them time on the ball too much, allowed them to turn and to play passes – that is down to me.

“When you look at the games in which we’ve played well, we’re better when we get after teams, push onto people and get in their faces. And in the second half we went at them. And my lads have got a never-say-die attitude. They’ve got this belief. Even when they were 3-1 at half-time, we still felt we could get something out of the game. Then we conceded a fourth and you think it might not be our day.

“And you naturally start thinking about what the other results are around the country and you even start thinking about goal difference – but I knew if we could get that second goal, the belief would kick in.

“Thomas got his goal and it was an excellent goal. And you can sense it in the crowd, in the atmosphere in the stadium. You could see that little bit of apprehension from the Swansea players – they weren’t too sure whether they were playing it short or going long.

“Lucas missed a chance to make it 4-3, Junior missed a chance to make it 4-3… and once we did get the third goal it was game on.

“I knew we’d get one or two more chances and as soon as that ball went in the box… I’m thinking, surely not! It can’t be Tom Mac again! Unbelievable.

“We’d got off to a great start with the penalty and then two worldies and they’re 2-1 up. And then they get the penalty just before half-time.

“But the crowd were amazing. They were right behind us from the very start. The atmosphere was electric and the fans just kept singing.

“Easter started with a win at Sheffield United – a team who hadn’t lost at home for 12 or 13 games. And then to come from 4-1 down to take something against Swansea City at home – four points in two games - it has been an unbelievable effort from the boys.

“I love seeing the players happy, I love seeing the fans happy – knowing that people will be going to work tomorrow with smiles on their faces.

“I sense a togetherness that is being forged as we all try to keep this team in the league. And today was amazing. This point was so important. An amazing day.”

Ince on Derby going down

“When I was given this job at Reading, a lot of people raised a few eyebrows because of the time I had been out. And that was probably the same situation with Rooney when he was appointed.

“But what he has shown is that he is more than capable of being a very, very good manager. To get to this point in the season with a 21-point deduction and only get relegated now shows how well he has done and what a great job he has done.

“They’ll probably give the manager of the year award to Marco Silva at Fulham but it should go to Rooney or Nathan Jones for the jobs they have done and the budget. It’s a no brainer. Normally it’s those who win the titles but Rooney or Jones should get it, without a doubt.

“Rooney will be hurting now but hopefully they get new owners and can start a project - not a one- or two-year project but a three or four year one which can get the club back to the Premier League.”

Ince on his own future

“No change. Everything has to be a project. You look at what Klopp and Guardiola have done, it’s been over five or six years. You can’t have success in one or two years. My job now is to see it through. The lads have been amazing but we’re not there yet.”

Ince on Lucas Joao

“It’s all hands to the pump. In this situation, you can’t have any luxury players. I won’t allow that to happen. Lucas has upped his game from a work rate point of view and if you work hard, you get your luck and goals.

“We know what a great finisher he is. But when you’re fighting to stay in the league, you have to be accountable and responsible.

“When the players see him working as hard as he is, it inspires them to work more as well. That’s the message we’ve been getting across - changing the mindset and they’ve taken it on board really quickly.

“He’s a top striker and when I first came in here, one of the first things I said to my son (Tom) was ‘what’s the changing room like?’ And he said ‘not one bad egg. All unbelievable lads.’ And that helps your job.

“We all have one common goal and it’s amazing how you can get results based on that spirit rather than being individuals.”

Ince on Holmes and Ejaria missing the game

“Ejaria is injured. He’s done his thigh. Holmes has got a bad fever. He has been outstanding for me so to miss him was a big blow. He should be back for Hull.”

Ince on the never-say-die spirit

“When you’re losing games, it’s tough. It’s about building confidence and spirit. You have a moment in the season that can switch things. For us it was Bournemouth away when we equalised and there was a belief we could beat the top teams.

“To beat Blackburn... it changes. That was a big moment for us because we weren’t poor before Bournemouth, but the lads have been brilliant. When a new manager comes in, the players give an extra yard and that’s what’s happened.

“It’s about standards. I couldn’t get away with it under Fergie so there’s no way they’d get away with it under me, and that’s the bottom line.”