"That winning feeling"
“I thought we were unlucky to go behind twice but we stuck at it. It will be hard to keep clean sheets in the Premier League so we have to score goals – and tonight we certainly did that.”
The midfielder admitted that he struggled with his fitness in some spells of the match - but came through it with a truly resolute performance.
“It was huge for me to get a full game. Me and Jem were really blowing after half an hour but as the game went on I thought we got stronger. We did things right tonight and the manager is really pleased for us.
“The dressing room was buzzing after the game but we all know that Saturday’s another game and we’ll be ready.”
Like Tabb, Shorey hasn’t had a regular string of games this season, but after a fantastic display – capped by a sensational free-kick, the left-back is confident ahead of Saturday’s match against former manager Alan Pardew’s Newcastle.
“It always takes a little while to get going,” said Nicky. “I was happy to play on Saturday but the more you play, the better you do. It was important that we put in a big performance tonight – and we need to take it into Saturday now.
“It’s always good to see Pards – he’s done a lot for my career and I’ve got a lot of time for him. The fans should hopefully give him a good reception – he’s a top manager and I’m not surprised what he’s done at Newcastle.”
Mariappa echoed the sentiments of Tabb and Shorey – and after making his competitive debut for the Royals, the defender is hungry for more.
“I really enjoyed it – despite the cramp that made me come off. It wasn’t ideal but perhaps it happened because I hadn’t played in a while and there was a bit of anxiety because I was making my debut.
“It’s a cup game and everyone wants to go as far as they can. Playing against a team in the same league as us was pleasing. To get back to winning ways was important.
“I’d be ready to play at Newcastle if I’m selected. I’m happy that I’ve been able to show the gaffer a glimpse of what I can do.
“It’s always a tough game in the cup, whoever they are and whatever league they’re in. They’ll come to our ground favourite but that will probably suit us. We’ll be looking forward to that and looking to progress.
“It’s the best league in the world and it’s what you want as a professional. To be part of this group is a great privilege and a great honour – I’m going to do my best for the team. We’ll be going into the weekend full of confidence.”