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Paul Ince 'Proud' Of Players Despite FA Cup Exit To Manchester United

The gaffer refused to be too critical of his side after a 3-1 loss at Old Trafford, and also had his say on the fans, Andy Carroll and Dean Bouzanis.


The Royals travelled to Old Trafford for a fourth-round FA Cup fixture against Manchester United.

After a great defensive performance in the first half, the Royals went into the break level, but in the second half, things changed very quickly with United scoring three in 15 minutes through Casemiro and Fred. Andy Carroll also received his marching orders after receiving his second yellow card.

Amadou Mbengue gave the Royals fans something to cheer about by scoring in the 72nd minute, and Reading had their chances to possibly get something out of the game.

Paul Ince said the game was for the Reading fans and felt it was a performance they could be proud of. Here is what he had to say; he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.

Ince on the game

“I’m proud of my team to come here and hold a team like that at bay.

“The last two or three days we’ve been trying to guess who United were going to go with, who he might play – Elanga, Pellestri, Garnacho… and then we saw the teamsheet and it was BANG! Have some of that!

“I was talking to one of our lads and we worked out that one of their player’s wages was more than our entire budget. One player. That shows where we’re at.

“And Erik ten Hag put pretty much his strongest team out, out of respect for our club, me and my players. And if I was playing in this match as a Reading player, I’d want to be playing against the best.

“And that’s what my players did today, pitted themselves against the best. We came in at 0-0, it could even have been 1-0 to us with that chance at the end of the half – so you’ve got to be proud of the players.

“I told the players ‘you’re not going to outplay this team – so just keep your shape. And when you get it, get those passes off and then they’re open. But we let the occasion get the better of us a little bit at the start – and I get that.

“They’re playing at Old Trafford in front of 75,000 fans, you can understand the players being nervous and kicking the ball out. You try to tell them, but it’s hard because they haven’t experienced it. Unless you do it and until you’ve lived it, it’s tough.

“But even with 10 men, we dug in, we never gave up and we managed to score a goal – which is something we’ve not managed to do at Old Trafford on the last few times we’ve been here.”

Ince on returning to Old Trafford

“It's always lovely to come back here. I had six wonderful years here. I was part of a team who won the league here after a long wait. Half of them who were here tonight probably don’t remember me! But for the ones that did, they gave me a nice round of applause. And that’s always nice.

“But today was about the players. Today was about the 3,000 fans who travelled up here on a Saturday night and who have now got to get back home.

“I’m so glad we gave them something to cheer and I don’t think they will go home embarrassed by their team.

“You look at 4-0 away at Stoke and you see United’s team and you think this could be difficult. “But we were solid, we did the right things and they can feel proud of us tonight. And I said to the players that they’ve got to give the fans that every game.

“We were never going to win the FA Cup. That’s not our priority. Our priority is to stay in the Championship. And if we can perform like that, we’ll be fine.”

Ince on Andy Carroll sending off

“I was disappointed with the referee. The first one in the corner wasn’t a yellow card, the linesman’s not even flagged. The referee can’t wait to get his cards out. Once you get booked, you’re on a tightrope.

"He had a poor tackle on Christian Eriksen, which could have been another booking, and the second one against Casemiro he is sliding but lifts his legs away as he knows he can’t go through him. He can’t wait to book him. That’s a bit of a downer because we lose him for the game on Saturday.”

Ince on Dean Bouzanis substitution

“I found it a difficult decision because when you look at the bigger clubs they have FA Cup keepers. I thought Deano played well against Watford and it was a tough decision whether to keep him or go for Joe [Lumley].

"The quality we had tonight was a lot better than we had against Watford, so I felt sorry for not playing him tonight. Everyone this week has been running around more to try and get in the lineup, which is natural, and I felt sorry for Deano. Once the game had gone behind us I had the idea of bringing him on for 15-20 minutes so I’m pleased about that.”

Ince on the fans

“It's the third time [we had them] and hadn’t scored so it was nice to get a goal. We know the Reading fans have come up on a Saturday night at 8pm and have to get home, so it was important that we didn’t embarrass ourselves and the fans.

"There was no expectation of us, but at least the fans managed a song about scoring a goal which is nice. We have to take that all on board, the fans and togetherness, and take it into the next 18 games of Championship. Our priority isn’t to win the FA Cup, it’s the stay in this league. If we keep performing like that then we’ll be okay.”