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Paul Ince Slams Players For ‘Not Competing’ In Stoke Hammering

The gaffer hit his players with a broadside after a really poor performance and heavy defeat on the road.

Stoke City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The Royals had one of their heaviest defeats of the season after a 4-0 defeat against Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium. It is safe to say that Paul Ince was not a happy man after the defeat. Here is what he had to say - he spoke to the official club website and Reading Chronicle.

Ince on the defeat

“We said before the game that their home record had not been very good and if we could keep it tight for 15 minutes, then it can go a bit quiet and they can get nervous. And lo and behold, we try and pass it out from the back, we give it away and we just give them a goal after 10 minutes.

“It is all our own doing. Three of their goals came from our defensive mistakes. And if I could have taken off every outfield player at half-time, I would have.

“We didn’t create enough and defensively we were so, so poor. My teams compete. But we didn’t compete from minute one. There was not one player out there today who played well. A bad, bad day for us. I’ve said to the lads that I hope it hurts you as much as it hurts me. Because we’ve got to stay in this league.

“And I’ve said to them, ‘if you keep playing like that, you won’t be staying in this league. You’ll be playing in League One. So I suggest you roll your sleeves up, you get back in on Monday morning, watch the whole game again and make yourselves accountable.’ Because we can’t afford to make mistakes like we did today.

“We always try to fight. We always try to compete. And not one of our players did that today. We let the club down and we let the fans down – fans who came a long way, travelled here in the freezing cold to see us turn in a performance like that.

“Sometimes maybe we think we’re better players than we are. But if we can’t the basics right and we do things like we did today, we’ll have to go back to what we were last year – making ourselves hard to beat and well-structured. Back to basics.

“I’m glad we’ve had this kick up the backside because it might help us get our arse in gear for Watford in two weeks’ time.”

Ince on mistakes

“Some of the things that these players are doing baffles me, especially away. Our record away isn’t great and you’re thinking what’s the answer? Why aren’t we winning games away? But then we go to Norwich and drew, should’ve beaten Swansea and Burnley, you think what is it?

“As a manager you can’t coach basic mistakes or players making bad decisions. With everything we’ve done in training, where the preparation has been really good, all of a sudden, for some reason, individuals want to start doing the wrong things. We have to do the basics right, and if we don’t do that we get beat.”

Ince on distractions

“I banned all talk of Man U this week, maybe it’s different for players. You can’t make excuses but maybe people are asking for tickets, I don’t know- I’m not a footballer, although I could have been today. The QPR game was fine, it was disappointing we didn’t get the three points but Luton were 2-0 up and lost 3-2.

“There was nothing in between the two teams but you can’t keep making basic mistakes, and we made three of them. You let yourselves down today, you let me down, you let the fans down. We didn’t compete, and one thing about my team is that you have to compete.”

Ince on injuries

“Naby was injured after the QPR game and hasn’t trained all week, AC did his ankle. Missing Hutch too, someone with experience of keeping the ball in the middle of the park.”

Ince on the team

“The amount of times we lost the ball in the middle of the park, it’s so naive at times. They’re three big names for us, so to lose them is disappointing. I was more disappointed with the lack of effort, we didn’t compete and weren’t us. It was a bad day for us, you’re going to get them. We have to compete, do the basics right and cut out the school-boy mistakes we did today. Defensively we were diabolical.

“Sometimes we think we’re a possession-based team. We’re not. To be a possession-based team you need very good players who are good on the ball, and at times we don’t do that. We give it away too easy. Maybe we have to go back to basics.

“You keep performing like this, you’ll go down. At home we’re strong, but we have to start picking up wins away. This one and the Rotherham one is the worst two performances we’ve had this year. Hopefully it’s a wake-up call for everyone. A kick-up the backside.

“All these players who moan that they’re not playing and then they get their opportunities, they have to show me that they want to play for this club and stay at this club. it’s not just the ones under contract, the ones on loan have to do more. We’re all in it together, so hopefully it’s the last time I have to say that we’ve let the fans down and the club down.”

Ince on the transfer window

“It’s tough. You see all these clubs bringing in players and making them stronger and we can’t do anything. At the moment we are what we are, and we have what we have. If we do it right, what we have is fine, I have no problem with that, but when we don’t do it right then it becomes an issue.”