The Royals started the 2022/23 season with defeat at Blackpool, with manager Paul Ince saying that it was a ‘tough one to take’. Blackpool scored early on to secure the three points, but the Royals put on a much better second-half display to show some positive signs moving forward.
Ince said after the game he was gutted for the players as we should have got something out of the game. Here is what he had to say, he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Ince on the defeat
“It’s a tough one to take because I thought it was one-way traffic in the second half. I feel gutted for the players because we should have got something from the game with that performance.
“It boiled down to one mistake, we went tight when we weren’t ready to go tight, the keeper makes a good save but we don’t win the second ball – and we’ve conceded a silly goal and we’re 1-0 down.
“But looking at the performance in the second half, we should have taken something from it. We got into good positions, especially through Junior Hoilett who I thought was absolutely outstanding down the right-hand side, but sometimes we took too many touches.
“And we didn’t sniff out the chances. We didn’t get a body in at the back post to finish it off, we didn’t take a gamble on a cross on a couple of occasions – if we’d done that we would have come away with points.
“It’s disappointing. But it’s one game. And their manager will be pleased to have come away with three points from today because they were camped in their half for the final 20 minutes.”
Ince on the players’ spirit
“Yiadom was playing as a right-sided centre-back, Hoilett as a right wing-back, so you have to think about that. The performance was more encouraging for me. I said to the players, if they perform like that for the next 45 games I’ll be happy. We have players to come back and with only Long on the bench and the youngsters, you can see where we’re at. We’re going to need the strength in depth going forward.”
Ince on new players coming in
“Loum has signed and the good thing about him is that he’s signed for Porto B and has trained with them so he is ready to come in. Joao and Hutchinson could be two or three weeks away and they would have been in our team so it’ll probably be three or four weeks until we see a team that is starting to gel.
Ince on injuries
“Look at the players we’ve got missing, Lucas Joao, Scott Dann, Femi Azeez, Sam Hutchinson, we’ve now got Mamadou Loum who we’ll try to get up to speed quickly. They made four or five substitutes today, we had Shane Long – who’s still a fair bit behind it - and a group of young men on the bench.
“Coming back to a team you managed, you want to get a result. And I thought we deserved a result.
“But we’re going to win games and we’re going to lose games. I said to them before the game that we’ve got to be competitive. And I thought we were certainly competitive today.”
Ince on Femi Azeez
“He pulled his hamstring on Friday so he will be out for six to eight weeks. He had a fantastic pre-season but we were doing some training and he pulled his hamstring.”