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Noel Hunt Praises Performance And ‘Good Point’ Against Luton

The interim boss on how Wednesday night’s 1-1 with Luton played out, Andy Carroll’s red card, and more.

Reading v Burnley - Sky Bet Championship Photo by David Horton - CameraSport via Getty Images

The Royals held on for an extremely important point against promotion-chasing Luton Town at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Andy Carroll gave the Royals the lead early in the second half, and he thought he had doubled our lead shortly after, but the ball touched his hand and he got his second yellow card and received his marching orders. Reading defended brilliantly but conceded an equaliser through Carlton Morris with just nine minutes to go, although we held on to get the point.

Reading remain in the bottom three, one point off safety with other results not going our way, but our fate is in our hands. Here is what interim manager Noel Hunt had to say. He spoke to the official club website and Reading Chronicle.

Hunt on the performance

“Where do I start? I thought we started the game really well. We controlled the first 20 minutes and, because of Femi being positive down the right, we had a good chance to take the lead.

“Then we got a little bit anxious, stopped doing the things that had brought us success. What we were doing was working but we have to stay in that mindset. But we sat too deep with our wingers and that caused us problems.

“We spoke at half-time about it, and we started really well at the start of the second half. We were playing forward, being positive – and from good play, we earn a corner and Andy gets a great header.

“We were in control of the game. Then two minutes later, Andy goes with his head and it hits his hand and it goes in… I don’t think it was intentional.

“I get that he celebrated, I would probably have done the same myself. He went and spoke to the referee at the end and asked if he hadn’t celebrated, would it have made any difference – and the ref said he would still have sent him off.

“He will be a massive loss. But we have boys who will come in and now they have to do a job. He’ll stay in and around the group and stay positive, because that’s the kind of guy he is.

“After that, it was about digging in, looking at where we could plug the gaps. We got a bit of energy on the pitch in Kelvin and Mamadi, both who showed great intensity, great legs out there to keep them at bay.

“Then their goal, we probably should have stopped the cross. But they get lucky with the deflection dropping where it drops. And it’s 1-1.

“Then, with the game level, let’s see what we’ve got. And I thought we stood up to the challenge really well.

“We were magnificent in terms of our shape, how aggressive we were, on the counter we even had a couple of chances to score – Mama has a good chance to get in the box but he opts to pass it instead, Kelvin had a shot from distance… we had a couple of chances to hurt them again.

“We were at home, we wanted to win the game - that’s what we had talked about. So I’m gutted. But to stay in it with 10 men and take a point, it has to be a good point.”

Hunt on the point

“Every point is important. We know that we have to take the positives and learn from little things. In the first half we gave the ball away a few times, just stay calm and get back to what you do in terms of the game plan.

“When we did do that, we look a good team - we are a good team. We’ve got some really good players in that dressing room. Speaking to them after I said did you want a lie in? No, everybody wants to get in early, watch the game and do the analysis.”

Hunt on Andy Carroll

“Even his first yellow card, he hasn’t touched him. There’s no contact, the boy just goes to his knees. He slides but he doesn’t get near him, and he books him. From there, with the second one, it’s not even clear. He says he’s handled it but just some common sense for me.”

Hunt on striking options

“We’ve got Lucas Joao and Kelvin E who will come in again. I thought Lucas was great tonight, he is really putting in a shift. With Kelvin E, you know what you’re going to get. It’s an opportunity again for us to have a look at that and possibly someone else on the bench.”

Hunt on results around them

“No, I don’t care. We’ve got to control what we can control. I’ll look at them later on but for us it’s about what we can do. We’ve got to focus on what we can do; I haven’t got time to look at teams around us that we’re not playing. It’s about what we have and what we can do for Coventry.”

Hunt on Andy Carroll disappointment

“He knows it himself, but that’s not the point. The point is that if I’m in his shoes I probably do the same thing. He says it’s accidental, it’s accidental and he doesn’t mean it. Therefore, there’s nothing to be mad about, it’s one of them things.

“He’s gutted, and I said to him there’s nothing you can do about it. He’s hurting more than anyone down there. It’s a great header, he scores a great goal, and he thinks he’s scored a second one. It is what it is.”