The Royals’ unbeaten streak is over after a 4-0 defeat to league leaders Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Reading now sit in fifth, a position that many of us would have dreamed of at the start of the season. Paul Ince after the game said energy levels weren’t there against very good opposition. Here is what he had to say after the game, he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Ince on the defeat
“We didn’t deserve anything from the game. We looked tired and we didn’t reach the levels we have done. We put a lot into the game at Millwall, they had an extra day’s rest, and our energy levels weren’t there.
“But that’s not an excuse. The fact of the matter is they are a very good side. When you take off a £20m striker and replace him with another £20m striker, it shows where we are as a club compared to them. And they will be up there come the end of the season.
“By contrast we looked quiet, we looked tired, we looked lethargic, we didn’t have that spark tonight and we weren’t at the races. But I’m not too despondent, because we never gave up, our heads never dropped. The lads will always fight for me. We’ve got a great togetherness.
“In a perverse type of way, this result brings us back down to Earth a bit. The fans understand where we are as a club. You’re top of the league and some people get excited. Internally though, our remit is to get to 40 something points and make sure we stay in this division.
“It’s not all hay and sunshine. You have to take the rough with the smooth. It’s been a positive little run. And it is disappointing in the way it ended, especially for the fans who made the journey up here tonight.
“But after the Rotherham game, we had Blackburn, Middlesbrough, Millwall and Sheffield United away. I said to the players tonight, ‘if I were to give you nine points from those four games, would you have taken that?’ And I think we all would have said yes. Now we have to go again on Sunday against Stoke.”
Ince on Baba Rahman
“Yes, we’re just waiting on a few documents from Chelsea so I am hoping by Wednesday morning he will be training which will be great.
“Baba will give us that balance. Junior Hoilett has done ever so well but playing him as a left wing-back has been tough for him. But he has been brilliant so I’m not going to complain. Baba gives us that balance and then I can start looking at what I can do up top because I think we need to do a lot more up top.
“I’m not best pleased with that so we need to try and look at that area. Getting Baba in will be great - I know him, the players know him, he’s a great guy and we know what he’s about.
“It has been a long process and I’ve had agents galore throwing left-backs at me. but I said I needed to wait. The problem with Chelsea is that they were waiting to see if clubs were signing their players.
“Baba has two years left on his contract and there were offers for him from abroad but he wanted to stay here. He knows how I work. He knows my standards and demands so it’s an easy place for him to come and I can’t wait to see him again, fingers crossed.”
Ince on bringing in a striker
“I’d like to get a striker in. I’ve got one in mind but I’m not going to tell you yet - you’ll be quite surprised if I can get him in. We are always trying to bring in good players and that’s what I’ll continue to do until the window is shut.”
Ince on whether this is the end of our loan signings this year
”Yes - I think you can have as many loans as you want, it’s just a case of you can only put five into your team (matchday squad) so you have to be careful because you don’t want to be spending money on loans where one is going to be in the stands.
“Sometimes with loans you get injuries or suspensions, or they don’t play well, then you can change them so I won’t say I’m not going to look for another loan, that’s for sure. If someone jumps out at me, I have two days [left in the window], then I’ll take him. I want to get another central midfield player in but where we are the minute, we have to be careful.”