Andy Carroll scored an important equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Hull City at the Select Car Leasing Stadium on Saturday. Hull took the lead in the 26th minute before Carroll netted just before half-time. Unfortunately, the Royals suffered some injuries with Liam Moore and Tom McIntyre coming off before the break.
Manager Paul Ince felt it was a point gained but, with the international break, it is time to reset and get ready for the next eight games. Here is what he had to say; he spoke to the official club website and Reading Chronicle.
Ince on the performance
“I think both teams will be happy with a point in the end. I don’t think we started very well in the first 10-15 minutes, we looked nervous – and we conceded a goal with some sloppy play from us when we didn’t get the press right. That gave us a kick up the backside and our response was good.
“And to get the equaliser just before half-time was well deserved. And it came at a good time, lifting everybody. In the second half, it was a case of who was going to get the next goal would win it. And there were a few skirmishes in the box, but a draw was the fair result.
“We looked tired. We’ve had a very tough four or five games which took a lot out of us, so I have to be proud of the effort the boys put in. They were running on empty a lot of them, absolutely knackered. But they kept going and kept going and we stopped the rot with a point.
“It’s not about pretty football at the moment. It’s about points on the board. And today was a point gained.
“It’s been tough for the boys. But the next eight games are going to be tough as well.
“We’ll go away for a couple of days. It’s been a tough, tough year with injuries, the embargo, the six points hanging over us.
“But eight games to go. Eight games to keep this team in this league. Everyone’s going to be needed in this run-in.
“And we’ve got to be positive. The two-week break comes at a good time for us. We’ll look to get a couple of players back, get some rest into the legs of the players we have been calling upon, let everyone rest their minds because mentally it’s been draining - and we’ll go again at Bristol City in two weeks’ time.”
Ince on injuries
“If you think about the players we’ve got out, we’ve lost Tom Mac for the rest of the season I presume, Shane Long is the rest of the season. The boys that are fit are putting a shift in. We are back to the start of the season, looking at the bench and there’s not a lot you can do with it. We’re down to the bare bones.
“People say it’s the international break and we can get some injuries back, we can’t do that. It’s tough for the boys. We’ve got eight games to go. It’s not about pretty football or playing like Manchester City, it’s about getting points on the board.”
Ince on Liam Moore
“I’m devastated. I’ve seen his process this last two or three months and he was so excited yesterday that he was starting. The last time he was meant to start, he didn’t start. You could see the glint in his eyes and the smile on his face. To see that happen to him was sad. Sad for him and sad for us. I’m not sure of the extent of it, but that’s him for the rest of the season.
“If you want to look at where we’re at, that’s eight or nine players we haven’t got. I’m sure he’ll bounce back, he has that mentality to bounce back. I’ll be staying in contact with him to make sure he does everything right.
“I was thinking about putting him in or not putting him in, but looking at him in training every day he’s been sharp. That’s another bad injury we’ve got, it’s not about fancy football it’s about getting enough points to stay in the league.”
Ince on Ovie Ejaria, Yakou Meite and Baba Rahman
“[Ovie] is probably another two or three weeks, Yaks another two or three weeks, Baba I don’t know yet. We can’t change much. Look at the bench and you think what can you change, you can’t change a lot. These teams have strengthened in January, we haven’t.
“We’ve got the same players doing the same things. You know how tough the Championship is and how hard it is. The most important thing for me was not to lose the game. I would have loved to win it, we’re at home, but I’ve got to make sure our players rest their legs and rest their minds and hopefully go again.”
Ince on the international break
“It could not have come at a better time. It will give them time to regroup and get ready for the next eight games. They’re going to be tough, but it’s a nice refresher for us so we can go again. It’s come at a great time.”
Ince on the EFL points deduction
“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t know when it’s coming, or if it’s coming. There seems to be a lot of stuff in the press at the minute about other teams. The EFL seem to be on one at the moment, they’re hitting everyone.
“I’m sure something will be coming our way but for me I’m glad we didn’t lose the game. No manager likes going into an international break losing a game.”
Ince on Shane Long and Tom McIntyre
“Shane felt a nerve in his leg against Blackburn and goes for a scan, he’s got a grade one or two which is eight weeks. Tom Mac has felt the same. Any hamstring will be four weeks before you get back on the park - that’s the season done.
“Cursed with injuries. This is what you get when you’re asking the same players to perform every week and midweek, you’re going to fatigue. We ain’t got the option of changing it or refreshing players, I’m asking them every week to go to the well. Nine times out of 10, if you keep doing that you will get injuries.”
Ince on the run-in
“The next eight games are going to be squeaky bum time. That’s where we are. This time last year we were on 30 points, before the ninth game, so the lads have improved eight points before this game. That’s what we have to look at, the positive side. This is a team which has slashed its budget 50 per cent and can’t buy players. You can only give praise to the players.”