The Royals picked up an important point against promotion-chasing Peterborough United on Boxing Day to keep up our good run of form.
Reading came back from behind twice with goals from Sam Smith and Femi Azeez to secure a point. Unfortunately, other results in and around the relegation area didn’t go our way so we remain in 21st, three points off safety.
Manager Ruben Selles said the performance was testament to how much his team have improved. Here is what he had to say, he spoke to the official club website and Reading Chronicle.
Selles on the performance
“We’re content with the point and pleased with the overall performance. Naturally, entering any game, you aim for all three points, even when facing one of the league’s top teams. They demonstrated their quality, and the way we navigated through challenging spells in the game is commendable.
“Throughout the match, we stuck together, adhered to the plan – the lads did an amazing job staying level-headed and capitalising on our chances. It’s a point we can take a lot from and use as a foundation to build upon.
“The first half presented challenges: we had to do a lot of defending, and after conceding, our focus was on staying in the game until halftime. In the second half, we adjusted our pressing, applied more pressure on the ball, and showed positivity when in possession.
“Every player executed their roles today, including those who came off the bench. Fresh legs and fresh minds made a difference, helping the team push forward. The atmosphere in the dressing room is one of determination, mutual support, and in challenging battles, it can make the difference, as we saw today.
“As a manager, witnessing this level of performance from everyone in the squad makes it difficult for me, as they’re all making a case for their place in the team. Overall, it creates a better team performance – the way we fight, play, and celebrate moments together.
“Earlier in the season, we emphasized the need to learn from harsh lessons and quickly improve during pressured moments in the game. Today was another testament to how much we’ve improved, and our recent run of results reinforces that progress.
“The work is far from done; there’s still plenty to do, many games and points to fight for. Now, the most crucial aspect is getting our recovery right. For those who played today and those who traveled, ensuring they are well rested and training the right amount in the lead-up to Cheltenham. Only after considering all of that will I decide who gets to play, giving us the best chance of winning.”
Selles on our bouncebackability
“I think we have been showing it in recent games, so I am not surprised. We have found our way to do things and we can compete against anybody. Today is an example.”
Selles on reasons behind form
“A lot of things have changed: we have Sam Smith fit; Jeriel Dorsett back in the team as a full-back has been massive; Tom Holmes back at his level has been really good; Craigy playing as a six and giving Lewis Wing and Harvey Knibbs freedom in the eight positions; Harvey Knibbs as an eight and not a winger; Femi Azeez finally finding his way to find football and connecting everything; the substitutions helping make points.
“We have got a lot that has changed, it was part of the learning process. We need to take one thing at a time, be happy with the point and tomorrow recover.”
Selles on Andy Yiadom injury
“We don’t know, he is going slow. We thought he could be better and be available today but unfortunately the knee was still with some fluid. We need to take it day-by-day. He has not been training so let’s see if he can train tomorrow.”