Coach speaks after Fulham clash
Academy Assistant Manager David Dodds spoke to Reading FC Player after the Royals Under 18s were edged out in a seven goal thriller with Premier League Champions Fulham on Wednesday afternoon. Full interview and highlights to follow on our official online TV channel.
David, a disappointing defeat against Fulham but a performance to be proud of?
It’s always a tough game against them but it’s a good test – I think it’s a measure to see where you’re at, we’ve got first years in there who have just started playing and I think they did really well. There were obviously times when they were a little bit naïve; the lad Fulham paid a lot of money for, Dembele, showed quality movement at times but that’s great for our centre halves. They’ll get used to playing against that type of player and that’s what they’re going to have to do if they’re going to play in the Premier League. So overall disappointed with the result but the lots of positives to take away from it. I thought we played well through them, second half they were always dangerous on the break, we gave them a bit too much space just in front of the back four but we deserved a result there.
Always nice to see the two substitutes come on and score?
It’s a squad, I said to them before the game that we’ve got a bench there which is one of the strongest since I’ve been here. That tells you something at any level about your team – if your bench is strong, they come on and they don’t weaken the team. Sometimes with fresh legs they strengthen it.
Reading’s Academy just seem to be a fantastic side to watch?
Yes – they try and play out from the back and over the hallway line; getting the ball over the halfway line and in control is one of our principles. If that means kicking the ball straight over the halfway line we’ll do that as that’s the easiest way, but we also play out and shuffle around so we’ll do various configurations. It’s an education of how to play out from the back and then being affective when you get over the halfway line. It’s easy to play in front of the opposition defence, but the secret is getting in behind them, in-between them and through them. That’s the challenge at the minute, we get the ball into good areas and now we need to get in-between and sleet the right pass. The lads are just starting to do that.
They’re sure to improve as the season goes along too?
Its early days for the group, only two or three of them played in the final last year so it’s a little bit new to them playing at this level – but they’re getting used to it. They’ve only been in eight or nine weeks now but they’re starting to grasp the principles of the club – hard work ethic with good technical and tactical awareness. I think there are going to be a few dips and highs in the first half of the season but I’m pleased with the way they’re progressing.