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'Least we deserved'

18 August 2012

McDermott's Stoke verdict

Royals boss Brian McDermott says a point was the very least his team deserved as they began life back in the Barclays Premier League with a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City.

Adam Le Fondre scored a 90th minute penalty to give McDermott's men a draw, and once again the Royals dug deep late on to produce a result, sub Garath McCleary winning a spot kick that Le Fondre scored superbly. Stoke had only gone in front following a very uncharacteristic goalkeeping error by Adam Federici, so Brian was pleased his team came away with something out of the game.

He said, "I think it would have been unjust if we'd lost but injustices are no good to anyone, you have to get results and we've done that. We wanted to win it after we got to 1-1, and I thought Ian Harte was going to score with his free kick, it was close and should have been a corner. But at 1-0 down in the 90th minute you have no choice but to take a point, and psychologically it is really good for us.

"For the first half an hour or so I thought we were the better side and then they scored a freak goal. I don't have to say anything to Adam [Federici], he's a top class and bloke and goalkeeper. Everyone makes mistakes, I know I make plenty of them myself and I have no problem with him at all. 

"Going behind knocked the stuffing out of us a bit and we found it hard to get going in the heat so we'll take that today. You have to stay in games, we've done that many times, especially late on. Our fans know that and nobody was leaving early!

"If Alfie gets a chance he generally scores, and it's great he is off the mark. He has nerves of steel, he'll wait as long as it takes. It's what he does and I don't care what division it is, he'll score."

McCleary and fellow sub Noel Hunt made a good impact from the bench, and McDermott said, "We had a conversation yesterday about the whole group. Then Noel and Garath come off the bench and make an impression, that's why we have 20-odd players and all of them can play in the Barclays Premier League.

The atmosphere at Madejski Stadium was electric, especially before kick off, and the boss beamed, "I thought the atmosphere today topped it all. I remember the Forest game when the fans got us over the line, and at the start of the game today it was incredible. If we can make this a difficult place to come, it gives us a real opportunity and I think we've won 8 out of 10 at home."

And reflecting on the game as a whole, Brian said, "It was just so important we got something, I'd have been disappointed to have lost 1-0. Stoke will be disappointed because it was a late goal, but on reflection for them maybe it's a good point."

A full post-match video interview with Brian is live now on Reading FC Player.

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