Brian's pre-match press conference
Determination and respect. Those two words probably best summed up Brian McDermott’s press conference, ahead of a clash with Chris Hughton’s Norwich City this weekend.
As always the questions posed were varied, and at times challenging – but the focus of the Royals boss was unwavering – as shown when one journalist asked if he had singled out the Canaries game as a ‘must win’ encounter, even before the season began.
“You can’t be selective,” he said.
“We look at a game at home and we want to try and win it, whoever that might be. You cannot say ‘this is this team, so we’ll try and win’ – that’s disrespectful. Norwich have picked up recently, they’ve got seven points in their last three games, so we know what they’re about – and they know what we’re about. I’m just looking forward to the game.
“Every single person at the club, around the training ground – is going in the same direction. You can see that. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I have to say, everyone’s in a real good place.”
Similarly, when quizzed about the lack of a clean sheet in the Barclays Premier League – McDermott was quick to point out that he, his staff and his squad have faced similar challenges in the past – and quickly overcome them.
“I’ve been through these situations before – when I first got the job we were drawing an awful lot of games and couldn’t get that win, I’ve been through situations when we couldn’t score a goal in the first half – about 18 games last season I think. I’ve been in situations where we were conceding late goals, and we’ve addressed all of these things. Once we get in front we want to keep a clean sheet and win a game, that now is another challenge. Football is not an exact science.”
There was praise too for Adam Federici, with the Aussie international set to replace the injured Alex McCarthy on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m confident in Adam Federici, full stop. You have to look at his record over the period of time since that I’ve been manager – he’s been phenomenal. For me he was the best goalie in the Championship last season, he’s a top class goalkeeper and an international.
“Our fans will back him and each and every one of our players. They want to see wins, because we’re in the results business – but what they’re seeing is a bunch of people on the pitch, giving it a right go – each and every single time we play. From Adam, all the way to Jimmy Kebe, McCleary, Jason Roberts – they’re desperately keen to get the right results for our fans. The Reading fans will back Fedders, there is no doubt about that – and rightly so given what he’s done for the club.”
That squad mentality and strength in numbers has again been pressed home with the emergence of Sean Morrison, who seems to be a shining example of the patience and purpose which is ever present at Hogwood Park.
“Sean Morrison is an interesting character – we thought he had potential, and he’s been training really, really well – but he hadn’t really played a league game for us in two years.
“I can’t keep saying to Sean, you’re training well, you’re doing this, you’re doing that – but not giving him any light. So I made a decision to play him against Arsenal, I needed to see if he could do it at this level – and I thought he did really well. He then did well against QPR. He’s proven he can play at this level, and at the moment he’s got the shirt. All of a sudden we’ve got a centre half that can play at this level. I don’t think there’s too many people who would disagree after seeing him play for the last two games.”
Watch Brian's press conference now on Reading FC Player.