The Royals picked up another fantastic win with a 2-1 victory against Stoke City at the SCL Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Birthday boy Lucas Joao scored a brace to secure the points and take the Royals to second, although Reading were later pushed down to third.
Manager Paul Ince was delighted with the win and said his players just keep on producing. Here is what he had to say; he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Ince on the victory
“It’s all down to the players and it’s tough. The first half at Rotherham was a disaster, Sheffield United was disappointing but their budget is far superior to ours – and we’re relying on 12 or 13 players every single game. We’re asking the same players to keep performing.
“But credit has to go to the players today – they thoroughly deserved to win the game. We should have been 2-0 up at half-time with Shane Long’s chance. Then they get a scrappy goal where we don’t win the second ball. And we go in level at half time and you wonder ‘how did that happen?’
“But these lads just keep producing and their reaction was second to none. The crowd were behind us, the lads worked hard for them all game and we have that siege mentality. We’ve made this a tough place for teams to come and we’ve got to keep that going.”
Ince on Lucas Joao
“The first goal was a great pass from Joe. It was down to a real awareness of where people are on the pitch. And then Lucas in a one v one… he’s a goalscorer.
“He’s not one of those strikers who likes to run around a lot, but he knows he also has to work hard for everyone else and today he did that. He scores you goals – that’s what he’s here for. But today he dug in for the team and his work rate was exceptional. And he got his reward because he was sharp.
“We had enough chances to put the game to bed. But in a nervy end, we kept our composure. You feel with these players that they are starting to learn how to see out games, the gamesmanship needed to deal with it, to get up the park and see out the final stages of matches like today.
“If we’re going to stay in this league, we’ve got to win our home games. And it’s great to have the fans onside. They’ve got to be on our side when we’re not winning games too because that is going to happen at some stage. But we’ve just got to amass as many points as we can while we can.”
Ince on dedicating the game to Tony Warner
“I wanted to dedicate this game to my goalkeeping coach, Tony Warner. His dad passed away towards the end of this week and he has been off for the last couple of days. But he was here today as part of our team and I wanted to dedicate this win to him.”
Ince on Mamadou Loum’s absence
“He was training with us on Saturday but he felt his groin. If I’m being honest, he’d have played, I would have played Long up front on his own. That’s not detrimental towards Joao, it was because he played at Millwall and Sheffield United and only just come back from injury so it was about sharing the load.
“I probably got away with one there. The two up front worked well up front at times. Loum would have started but he’s going for a scan so he could be out for a few weeks.”