Another weekend and another disappointing result, this time at the hands of Millwall at the Select Car Leasing Stadium. That’s three back-to-back defeats, with the Royals giving away a penalty early on which was slotted home by the visitors, with Reading never recovering.
With a possible six-point deduction looming, Reading are still 12 points off the relegation zone. Manager Paul Ince said one mistake cost us the game. Here is what he had to say - he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Ince on the defeat
“In the last two games we’ve played against the second-placed team and today another side in the play-offs. And there hasn’t been anything between the two teams on each occasion. But in both games one mistake has cost us. We’ve come away with nothing from games where we should have taken something. And that is disappointing for us.
“We knew what Millwall were going to bring to the party, you knew they were going to make it physical, scruffy, going long and scrapping for second balls – and they are very good at it. And for the second time this week we have given the opposition a goal.
“They played against Stoke a few weeks ago, got the goal, and then defended for their lives. The last thing you want to do is give Millwall an early goal. But today, they did the same, they got the early goal, they did the basics right and they defended very well.
“Today was never going to be a classic - it’s not like they have cut us open at will. But they won their headers, they were brave, aggressive and we matched them in all of those areas today. But it was a mistake that cost us.
“The referee made it a very stop-start game. Andy Carroll has been elbowed in the face, palmed in the face… because he’s the size he is, he doesn’t get a fair treatment. He never moans about it, he just gets on with his job. But he was being fouled all day.
“We didn’t create enough and that’s not like us at home. The quality of crossing was poor at times and maybe we’re not gambling enough in the box. We’ve got to be more ruthless and create more.
“But I can’t say the players didn’t give their all. Tuesday took a lot out of them but they still showed a lot of endeavour this afternoon.
“Now, we’ve got 10 games to go. That’s it. We’re in the final run. We’ve got Blackburn on Wednesday night… another difficult one and then we play some of the teams in and around us. So we reset and go again on Wednesday night.”
Ince on the mistake
“We made the mistake, we’re not individuals. We made a mistake against Sheffield United on Tuesday and again today. It wasn’t like they cut us open. It feels like every time we make a mistake, we get punished.
“That’s two teams in the top six who have not been better than us, far from it, but we’ve come away with nothing and that’s disappointing, especially at home. I’ve said to the lads that they’re not a better team than you, maybe they do the basics right for a longer period of time but that’s what happens when you have the players and the quality that they have.
“They can do it week in and week out, we don’t. We have these slips where we do stupid things, and you get punished. That’s the difference today and Tuesday.”
Ince on lack of shots on target
“You’ve seen our team, there’s 36 games gone. Our creativity comes from Thomas, that’s the bottom line. That’s where we are. If you look at us all season, we’re not going to be one who scores three and fours, but yes we’ll have our moments. When you talk about creativity, it always comes from Thomas and that’s the way it is going to be for the next 10 games, we can’t change it. That’s where we are.
“You’ve got 10 games now, you’re on the final run so we have to reset. We have to play Blackburn on Wednesday but until Burnley come in April probably the last of the top six. Then it’s all the teams around us that I expect us to pick points up.
“It’s been a tough two or three weeks, the top teams in the league. It’s not that we’re not as good as them on our day, we have just shown that we are, we just have to be more ruthless and create more chances. This is where we are as a team at the moment.
“The boys were great and showed a lot of endeavour. They played on Tuesday, which was a tough game, and you can’t fault that. We have to keep the spirit up. I’m not sitting here doom and gloom; you’ve competed against two teams in the top six.”
Ince on injury news
“Scott Dann is out with a hamstring, Yids has done his ankle and Tom McIntyre has done his ankle, so back to the bare bones.”
Ince on Liam Moore
“I think he did well, I was pleased with his performance and the reaction he got from the fans. What happened with him is gone, we have to move forward. We all have to stick together. If we do get these six points it will be a tough 10 games so we have to stick together.
“I’m not one who likes fans booing their own players, I don’t think it’s right, but today he got 45 unscathed. With Scott Dann’s injury it’s probably come at the right time, not to say we could throw him in as he’s been out for a year. We have to be careful.”