Boss delighted after 2-1 victoryManager Steve Clarke said his players deserved to get a first win in his tenure as Reading boss.
We put in a sterling performance against a Norwich side who came here on the back of a 6-1 victory just 48 hours earlier, and it was a welcome result for a manager who is seeing good improvements in his team.
The boss celebrated the full time whistle with a resounding fist into the air, and said afterwards, "It's really pleasing, not so much for me but for my team because they've given me a lot in my three games at the club.
"A glass of red always tastes a bit better for me when you win! But it's not about that and I'm delighted for the players, their efforts in a short time have been great, and I'm delighted for the fans because it hasn't been such a great time for them. Hopefully they can go home with a nice smile on their face, four points from two games is a nice return.
"I didn't think we deserved to lose to Watford, then Brighton was a tough game and a deserved point, then today we were playing a Norwich team who fancy themselves as probably the strongest squad in the division, but I thought we were better than them and deserved to win."
Crucially we took the lead through Hal Robson-Kanu, and the boss pinpointed our start as key to the victory. "I think you saw the way we started was with a good tempo and an attitude to get around them. That set the tone, and I said to the players that if you play two games in quick succession, it’s much better to go in front. Chasing when you’re tired is difficult."
And we could have seen the game out with less tension, had Norwich not scored when we only had ten men thanks to a controversial refereeing decision. "It should have been much more comfortable, bar for a really bad officiating moment, shall we say.
"The referee seemed to take the law into his own hands, and decided we couldn't make a substitution which had already been logged with the fourth official, Guthrie for Cox. Garath picked up an injury, he would have gone back on the pitch, and the change was ready, Guthrie for Cox. For some reason he wouldn't let us make that, and then the second change on the back of it, which is extraordinary and cost us a goal."
Asked about the award of the penalty from which Hal Robson-Kanu scored, Steve said, "To be honest I had the typical manager's view, couldn't see much but I thought it was a penalty. We had them under pressure from set plays, good deliveries, a definite pull, the ref was close by and didn't hesitate."
And despite his first win, the boss won't rest on his laurels and vowed to improve. "For sure we will get better. That has to be the aim. If I'm happy with what we've done so far, we won't improve. I'll enjoy tonight but I'm already chasing the next win. I'm thinking about Huddersfield, Middlesbrough, I just want to win games and get up the table as quickly as we can."