The Royals were poor from start to finish on Friday night with Cardiff City scoring a last-minute goal to pick up three important points. Romaine Sawyers scored in the 91st minute in a game where Reading just didn’t really show up.
Manager Paul Ince was extremely disappointed with the defeat and felt Cardiff City should have had a man sent off. He spoke to the official club website, Berkshire Live and Reading Chronicle.
Ince on the red card
“It’s a blatant red card. And like any red card decision, it changed the game. The force that he’s gone in on Amadou, if we had VAR in this division it was a blatant, blatant red card. I’m sure I’ll get a phone call from Kevin Friend on Monday morning, saying that they got it wrong – but that’s no use to us. That’s the most frustrating thing.
“I understand referees make mistakes, we all make mistakes, I make mistakes and you saw my players make enough mistakes tonight. But the big decision like that, they have to get right – especially at the crunch part of the season.”
Ince on the game
“However, that doesn’t excuse the way we played. We looked out of sorts, we looked tired, we never really created anything, we kept going long to AC too early and never really got it down and tried to play - and we were very poor from the first whistle to the last.
“But you think you’ve got a 0-0 and we give a stupid, unnecessary foul away, we get the header, then get the second header but they get a shot, it goes through Nelson Abbey’s legs and they win the game 1-0.
“We need to look at ourselves, the players need to see some of the things that they are doing. Robinson couldn’t walk for the last 10 minutes but still we’re playing on the edge of our box – when they needed to get themselves up the pitch to try and win the game.
“The number of times we lose the ball in midfield, the number of times we lost the ball at the back, it dumfounds you why they were making those decisions.
“Cardiff made it difficult for us, but today I can’t back my players. It was a poor game of football, it wasn’t a great spectacle. But I’ve said to the players ‘you’ve got to perform better than that’.
“We’re a team who are going to make mistakes, because that’s the team we’ve had to build in such a short space of time. You see it game after game, we are going to make mistakes. But we have got spirit and we’ll keep fighting and fighting and fighting.
“But we must do better. And we can do better.”
Ince on three games in six days
“It was a poor game of football, not a great spectacle so hopefully Sky won’t put us on anymore on a Friday night and we can start playing on a Saturday and not play three games in six days.
“I’m disappointed, just in the performance. I can take losing games but I’ve said to the players in the dressing room, you have to perform better than that. The ones who keep knocking on my door, saying they are ready to come in and all that...they have to look at themselves and generally as a team we were very, very poor.
“At no time did we look like threatening anyone, didn’t look like creating anything. It just shows when we haven’t got players like Tom Ince and players like that in the side - we can’t create. The amount of time we lost the ball in midfield, some of the times we lost the ball at the back - they [the players] dumbfound you as to why they were making these decisions. It was very, very poor.”
Ince on the mentality away from home
“Look at Sunderland - if it wasn’t for the mistake, we come away with a point in front of 40,000 fans. From a mental point of view, it shouldn’t be a problem. We are a team that will always make silly mistakes - individually or collectively. We haven’t got the quality that most teams have got, and you see that game after game. We have a spirit, and we will keep fighting, that’s the most important thing.
“When we haven’t got Thomas or Jeff [Hendrick] we lose a bit of quality. We never kept the ball in the middle of the park or up front. AC was winning headers and we weren’t getting on the end of them. You’ve got to move forward. It’s disappointing because we could have won if it wasn’t for the referee, and you never know with 10 men, but it’s a different game.”
Ince on the fans
“Unbelievable effort from the fans. They were fantastic and I feel sorry for them watching that kind of performance – and the game itself was a terrible spectacle. But we are going to need their backing.
“They understand our away form isn’t good and I’m sure it was a terrible journey for them on a Friday night – and yet they turned out to support us and they stayed with us.
“We went to Sunderland and conceded late, again today. It hurts them. I know because it hurts me and my players.
“And we let them down tonight – we let ourselves down tonight. And if you don’t perform right, you don’t do the right things, then you are going to lose games. Let that be a lesson to all of us.”