Brian McDermott says he is ‘relishing’ the tough challenge presented by the Premier League, and is determined to get the Royals back to winning ways.
After a hugely successful three years in Madejski Stadium’s hot seat, the 51-year-old is more than ready to bounce back despite narrow defeats against Wigan, Aston Villa and Manchester United.
“This is where you earn your money. This is where you find out about the people around you,” he told his pre-match press conference.
“Believe it or not, I’m relishing this situation. Will I say I’m having a great time? No, but I’m relishing it. It’s an experience that I’ve not really had because we’ve had nothing but success. Is this success for Reading what we’re doing now? I don’t know – that would be an argument that you could discuss.
“Being who we are, how much we’ve spent and where we’ve come? Is this success? For me it’s not, because we want to win games at whatever level we’re playing at and that’s what we’re trying to do. But I wouldn’t regard it as failure because we’re so close. It’s the best feeling in the world when you go to your supporters at the end of the game and you’ve won. We want that feeling again.”
A trip to St Mary’s will inevitably bring back fantastic memories of that winning feeling; the 3-1 victory over the Saints last season all but sealed McDermott’s men the Championship title, and he is urging his squad to draw on that experience as they travel south this weekend.
“We know it’ll be a good atmosphere there. They’ve got a few points lately and I know the manager quite well – he’s done a fantastic job over a period of time and created miracles to win two promotions. I’ve got nothing but admiration for Nigel – he’s a terrific manager.
“They invested a lot of money in the summer time and have brought a lot of quality in. We know what they’re about and we have to make sure we go there and do what we have to do.
“We’ve had the experience of going there (St Mary’s) and getting a result. We know the surroundings, the players in that game know they got a results – so that can have a bearing. What we do know is that if we win, we go above them. They are playing at home so by definition, they might be under pressure. Sometimes, if you’ve spent a lot of money then there’s pressure. I can’t be accused of being under that pressure here but we put pressure on ourselves because we want the result.”