The Royals are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup after an excellent 2-0 victory against Watford at the Select Car Leasing Stadium. Kelvin Abrefa scored a brilliant goal on the stroke of half-time to give Reading the lead into the break, while Shane Long secured the win in the 93rd minute to keep our name in the hat.
Manager Paul Ince was a happy man after the game and was pleased to give the cup the respect it deserved. Here is what he had to say; he spoke to the official club website and Reading Chronicle.
Ince on the victory
“It’s a great competition to be in. For the fans, I think it’s important to have that dream alive. And we’re in tomorrow’s draw, so our fans can get around the television or listen to it on the radio and get excited.
“It was important we showed this competition respect and I thought we set our stall out very, very well from the off. We had a lot of possession, we passed the ball well at times, and we created a couple of good chances. But we looked pretty comfortable – and the timing of Kelvin’s cross or goal or whatever you want to call it, just before half-time, was good.
“We got a bit sloppy at times. But the objective was to get through to the next round, Scott Dann and Naby got another 90 minutes, Hutch got 45 minutes which was always the plan, Kelvin played when he hasn’t for a while, Craigy came on at the end and showed he could deal with this level of play – so as an exercise this afternoon worked out very, very well.
“They have a lot of injuries, but we had to take advantage of that. And I thought we dominated the game – we lacked a cutting edge at times. But I can’t complain. And it’s a home win which takes us nicely into the QPR game.”
Ince on the goal scorers
“He’s claiming he meant it. There is absolutely no chance! I said to him ‘don’t be going out tonight, throwing any shapes on the dancefloor’ – you know what kids are like these days they score a goal and want to go out partying.
“With Shane, you know you’ll get the work rate. And I think that was his first goal in open play for us this season – and it was a wonderful ball from Tommy Mac, he was immense in the middle of the park today and I love the kid.
“But Shane’s a phenomenon. You saw him run away from their centre-back who has played in the Premier League for them. I was going to take him off just before that because he started stretching his calves, but next minute he was Speedy Gonzales down the right… he just took off. And it was a fantastic finish – thoroughly deserved and we could all breathe again.”
Ince on squad rotation
“We know where we are. It’s about bodies. Credit to Watford, they’ve got 15 injuries to top players. Some of their kids were 17 or 18. I’m not going to say I feel sorry for Watford, or any other teams, as I’ve been in that position and nobody felt sorry for me, not that I expect them to. We knew the situation and that they wouldn’t come with a strong squad, so we controlled that and dealt with it.
“It’s important to get people on the pitch. Hutch will be stronger, Femi got 65 minutes. As much as you say they’re back, they’re not really back yet as they’re still two or three weeks away.”
Ince on Liam Moore
“It was a disaster. I feel for the boy. He was doing everything right but yesterday we did set pieces and he went with a runner and the next minute pulls his hamstring. I’ve watched him in the last couple of months get himself back to where he was, in the gym constantly. It’s disappointing for him and for me as I’m thinking it’s like getting a new player back. He was so close.
“He’s never had a hamstring injury before, so to do it on the Friday before he’s told his kids that he’s playing Saturday- it’s devastating. Football is not all about winning, when you hear stories like this you feel for him. He will have a scan on Monday and he will be looking at two months. His attitude has been spot on and his character and culture, you can see the spring in his step and spark in his eye.”