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Adkins' praise for players

9 November 2013

Manager reflects on 1-1 draw

Manager Nigel Adkins was pleased to see his players put on an excellent spectacle in our 1-1 draw with QPR, and he was relatively satisfied with a point against a very good side.

Rangers' excellent squad started the game well, but we then took control of the game and led through a brilliant Garath McCleary strike, only for Joey Barton to lash home a very good free kick.

The boss said, "It was a good game, I said in the week it would be a cracker and it was. It was end-to-end with good football.

"They got on the front foot early doors and rattled the bar but we weathered that period. We grew in strength, scored a really good goal through Garath and to be fair they got an excellent despatch from Joey Barton for their free kick. 

"We had a gameplan and it took us ten or fifteen minutes to get to grips with it. Then we nullified a lot of their threats, they normally pass the ball 500 or 600 times a game and deny teams opportunities. But today we gave them a lot of problems, we made the 'keeper kick it long, which they don't want to do.

"After the opening 15 we played where we wanted to, down the right in particular. We wanted McCleary to give their full back problems, Gunter with his athleticism and Hal into that channel. 

"Both keepers made good saves, it comes to mind when Obita went through and Green made a save with his foot.

"It was two teams looking to play good football, and the supporters will go home enjoying both sides trying to win. High tempo and two teams who for me will be up there at the end.

"Well done to our players, we played a top team, a good open match and we got something from the game, although our desire was to win."

McCleary's goal was a thunderbolt from more than 25 yards out, and the boss was not surprised to see him hit the back of the net.

He said, "We try to get him between the lines and he did exactly the same away to Norwich in the Premier League last year. He can do it off both feet. he's a talented, talented football player. It was a great goal he went and scored, he does it all the time in training."

The boss made all three subs in one go late in the second half and explained, "It's a little bit of cat and mouse. Guthrie was injured, we didn't want to make that one. It was 1-1 at the time, they went to an extra man in midfield to shore the game up, so if we throw two up front [too early] we're a bit exposed. It's cat and mouse, but we went for it in a desire to win the game, it's a good point for both sides."

And asked about his players' response to the defeat at Sheff Wed seven days ago, he commented, "We actually played some good football last week. The scoreline wasn't great though and is the only thing that mattered. We analysed it, put a line under it and the players worked with a good intent all week for a good game against a good side."

Finally, the boss confirmed that Wayne Bridge will be out for a few weeks after a knee operation, Danny Guthrie picked up a groin injury and Adam Le Fondre had a slight hamstring niggle in the build-up to the match.

He also said Royston Drenthe and Danny Williams trained on the pitch after the game and need to work on their fitness after being out for eight weeks. They could get chance to play in a behind-closed-doors game this coming Friday, if their training goes well over the next few days. Mikele Leigertwood is also making progress and is back in the early stages of training.

Manager's reaction is in full on Reading FC Player now.

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