The Royals secured safety in the Championship for 2022/2023 after Peterborough United lost to Nottingham Forest. Unfortunately, Reading didn’t pick up any points on the afternoon after a 3-0 defeat to Hull City at the MKM Stadium, but interim manager Paul Ince was positive after the game. He spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Ince on securing Championship safety and the defeat
“The lads are in the dressing room disappointed. But I don’t know why. Because today, we achieved what we needed to achieve. Yes, we lost a football match. And yes, I wanted us to get us over the line and not rely on Forest at Peterborough. But we put ourselves in this position, by beating Sheffield United, by coming back and drawing against Swansea City, by beating Blackburn…
“The performances of these players and the results we have picked up in recent weeks meant we afforded ourselves the cushion to slip up like we did today. The bottom three had to win all their games… Peterborough, Barnsley and Derby didn’t earn that ability to slip up.
“We had enough chances to win two games today. Josh had a fantastic chance, Lucas had two great chances, but you make one mistake and you go in at half-time a goal down.
“We looked in control in the first half but we were punished for that one mistake. And in the second half we looked tired. Emotionally we were tired.
“But the common goal was to keep this club in the division and we’ve done that. Now we can all breathe! And that’s a great feeling.
“The players have progressed, they’ve listened, they’ve learned. Of course they’ve made mistakes, I’ve made mistakes. But I’m proud of the players, the fans, the staff.
“I want to enjoy this moment. I want to breathe at last, I want the fans to breathe at last, I want the players and the staff to breathe at last.
“When I came in there was a real concern this club wouldn’t be in this division next season. But the fans will be going back down the motorway this evening able to breathe easy.”
Ince on the celebrations of staying up and whether the manner of doing it today was disappointing
“I don’t get that question. It’s actually a pathetic question. This is the problem about some of you guys (media) - all you worry about is results. I’ve had this question so many times - we’re not disappointed. The common goal was to stay in the Championship and we’ve done that. You can’t win every game so I hate to see the word disappointment.
“I’m not disappointed. Why am I disappointed? Two months ago this club was going down. But these players and fans have managed to keep them up. That’s the common goal - not losing to Hull - a game we dominated in the first half and had enough chances in the second. I don’t want people to talk about disappointment - it baffles me.
“It’s a positive time for the club and for the fans, and staff who you don’t see who work their socks off. Half of the people lose their jobs if the club gets relegated into League One.
“They get made redundant but you don’t see that because you come here every week under no pressure. I don’t want disappointment as a word or for that to be associated with Reading FC today. We can’t win every game but the fans will go home happy, knowing Reading are staying in the Championship.
“There won’t be any disappointment on their faces. I don’t want any negative vibes.
Ince on safety being a proud achievement
“I’m proud of the players and for keeping them in this league. I’m proud the fans get to see Championship football again next year. I’m proud of the staff who would’ve been worried about their jobs - we know how it works. Take football out of it and these people have families and kids, and jobs to worry about.
“As well as managing a team of players, I’m also managing a staff. I’m proud of achieving that for their sake - not mine, I can always go back home and play golf and live my lovely life. It’s not so easy for this staff and other people.
“That was my objective. The lads have been outstanding. If you go back to the Forest game where we got beaten 4-0, it looked like we’d struggle to stay in the league but the lads have learnt and progressed in such a short space of time.
“We’ve had no Scott Dann, John Swift, Andy Rinomhota, we lost Karl Hein and Tom Holmes is out - that’s half our team. We’ve got kids on the bench so it makes the accomplishment even better, considering how low we are in numbers.
“It is a fantastic day. The result doesn’t bother me as it’s gone our way because we put ourselves in that position. We allowed ourselves on the back of the Sheffield United win and Swansea draw to have this happen and not rely on another team.
“Derby, Barnsley and Peterborough had to win all their games and didn’t as they didn’t get the results we got. That’s a credit to this team and the fans.”
Ince on his future
“This coming week is about me having a few days off, seeing my wife and kids and playing a bit of golf which I’ve not done in a couple of months. That’s what it means to me - staying up so I can go and play golf and see my family!
“Nothing will be addressed until we get back from Luton. It’s just nice the players can go home now and breathe, knowing they will be in the Championship next year.”
Ince on if he would like to stay
“That’ll be my decision - there are a lot of things which need to be addressed and discussed. My main priority was to keep the team up so I want to stop and not think about football for a couple of days and spend some time with my family, then go again next week.”
Ince on the summer rebuild
“It is a big job. You think about the players out of contract and the embargo. If you think like that it’s going to be tough again next season, without a doubt. But let’s worry about that in two weeks’ time, and not today.”