Brian McDermott believes that the unity within his squad will be key if the Royals are to survive in the Barclays Premier League.
A classy Everton side ran out 3-1 winners at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon, though Reading typically refused to give in until the full time whistle as Hal Robson-Kanu nodded home late on.
“Last year we had to make up about 15 or 16 points. I just said to the players – ‘can we make up one or two?’. They all said yes,” said McDermott.
“The most important part of a footballer’s body is the brain. We need to be sure that mentally we’re absolutely right. And we will be. We have to stick together as a group, it’s really important – that result today won’t affect what happens to us next Saturday. We all went over to clap the fans at the end, because they’re going to be really important to us next week against Villa and we want to create a real vibrant atmosphere in our ground.
“I thought at times today, the first half in particular, we played that game on the front foot. We had opportunities from set plays and from open play. Everton are a side that are trying to get in the Champions League and they have some top, top players. The second goal was world class.”
There was no doubt that the Toffees’ victory was well earned, with Steven Pienaar's strike a breathtaking one, but whilst giving credit to the opposition – the Royals’ boss was quick to point out that once again lady luck appeared to come down hard on the visitors.
“Or course there’s a bit of frustration, we’ve had an opportunity with Adam Le Fondre’s shot that’s smashed against the post at 0-0. If that goes in it’s obviously a different game.
“In the second half Distin’s put his hand up when the cross was coming in, and it was a penalty. What can I say? He didn’t get it. I’m talking about these things every week.”