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Brian: Kebe est magnifique!

2 February 2013

Boss' verdict on vital victory

Brian McDermott described Jimmy Kebe as 'phenomenal' after his two goals saw off Sunderland in another crucial late victory for the Royals.

Kebe scored a brilliant early goal and then rose expertly to head home an Ian Harte free kick with five minutes left, taking us two points clear of the bottom three.

Brian said, "His first goal was fabulous, a good cutback from Jobi and then great skill from Jimmy to smash it in the top corner. And then for the second one it's a great header. We'd talked in the dressing room before the game about how phenomenal Jimmy's heading is, for some reason it ended up being a laugh but nobody is laughing now! He's great in the air, it's a great finish and Jimmy is brave both physically and mentally, we also saw that against Chelsea with his header just before the second goal.

"Jimmy has been terrific for me for three years now. He scores goals, makes goals, defends for the team and it was fantastic for him today. We've got a good relationship, I scouted him all those years ago and he's been phenomenal for this club."

See Brian's post-match video interview on Reading FC Player now.

The win makes it only one defeat in seven Barclays Premier League games for the Royals and Brian said, "It was a tough match so we're delighted to get all three points. We started well, we had large amounts of possession against a team with some quality players. We showed real spirit but real quality as well - just look at the ball in from Harte for the winner. You know in that situation that Hartey will deliver. He's been doing it for 20 years! We left it late but kept going and as always team is the operative word. We had to come back again from the disappointment of the penalty but we put a couple of strikers on and tried to win the game. 

"Pavel was outstanding, the workrate he has put in again today. He's such a selfless person, they all are and I just took him off because of the effort he put. I've seen the penalty back and it was an honest tackle but he did catch him unfortunately.

"At 1-1 Adam Federici made a great stop, I spoke to him afterwards and said it was a match-winning save. That's the difference in result. He's been with us such a long time, he's a great guy with a great story and he gives anyone from overseas real inspiration. I was so pleased for him.

"It's great for Hope Akpan to have made his debut today as well. You can see his attributes, he's strong, quick, he glides over the pitch, he can run with it, pass it and can score a goal. What else does a midfield player need? He's another team man, you could see late on with his defending up the pitch. He's a great character as well, nothing fazes him. He looks a really good prospect.

"Nick Blackman also got on the pitch and got the free kick for the winning goal. He's part of the team and has got a Premier League win on debut."

Brian made two changes with Akpan and Garath McCleary coming into the side, and Brian said, "Picking the team is the hardest part of the job. Luckily I've got my staff who are always speaking to the players, we have always had a group mentality. Look at Alfie for example, he's a top player and the ultimate team player. He is very bright and will do what is right for the team. I spoke to him and said how difficult it is for me. He understands, we have a good relationship and he's a top class guy. He came on today and made a difference. The most important thing for him is that Reading win which tells you all about the man. He's not a sub, he's a man who can play in so many sides.

"The dressing room tonight is a happy place for 30 players, all the squad, staff and even those not involved."

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