09:25AM, Thursday 19 April 2018
Reading can just about seal their Championship place with victory over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, but new boss Paul Clement is keen to avoid the frantic finale to his side’s 2-2 draw against Sunderland on Saturday.
The point, sealed through Yann Kermorgant’s late header, edges the Royals closer to safety, after a trying season which led to the recent sacking of Jaap Stam.
Clement has come in and steadied the ship, guiding the club to successive home wins, while Saturday’s point at the Madejski Stadium means Reading are yet to lose under their new manager at home.
Reading took the lead through Liam Kelly’s first half penalty on Saturday, but Chris Coleman’s Black Cats levelled matters minutes later through Paddy McNair’s drilled finish. Lee Cattermole glanced home a header to give seemingly doomed Sunderland a glimmer of hope, but Kermorgant rose well to head in Chris Gunter’s cross with 10 minutes to play.
"It was too open from a coaching point fo view,” Clement told the club website. “Our tactical discipline against Fulham was better than it was today even though we lost that game.
"When it's like that, so end-to-end, anything can happen. You can win - and we had a mssive two or three chances near the end - but equally you can end up losing a game like that because you're so open and giving the opposition chances.
"Both teams went hammer and tong for it. We tried to win it, but it was important not to lose. And it could prove an important point.
"And on reflection, it's probably a fair result, but we're disappointed we didn't take full advantage of those opportunities we had at the end."
The Royals boss couldn't fault his players' workrate against the Black Cats, but is conscious they’ll need to be a little more disciplined in the final three games to get the points needed for safety.
"The fact that the players showed that desire to get back into it and firstly equalise through Yann's header and then create so many chances in the last five minutes of the game, that was good to see. They really pushed for the win.
"And there was some brilliant defending of the penalty area. But it wasn't compact enough, not positionally disciplined enough...things we've got to get right in the last three games.
"We've got to play smarter. We've got to make sure we have more control in the last three games. Yes, we're going to try and win the games, but in a slightly different way.
"We are as we were with Bolton drawing at Barnsley. The gap is still five points, but they have a game in hand. And we have to be prepared for this to go to the last game."
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