Player reaction after FA Cup Semi-FinalClub captain Jem Karacan is targeting a strong end to the season, starting against Birmingham City at Madejski Stadium tomorrow evening.
The midfielder came off the bench at Wembley on Saturday, playing all of extra time, and he’s calling on his team-mates to replicate the weekend’s performance against Arsenal in the final two weeks of the campaign.
He said: “We’ve got to dust ourselves down and use the Arsenal performance as a benchmark to push on. It’s been a very disappointed season, as everyone knows, so we have to regroup and go again on Wednesday against Birmingham.
“You couldn’t have asked of any more from the lads at the weekend. We gave everything. We put our heart and souls into it. We have to suck it up and aspire to get back to Wembley one day.”
He continued: “We stuck in the game, tactically the gaffer got it spot on. Not many people would have expected us to go 4-4-2 and we had them under the cosh. It’s just unfortunate that they nicked it at the end.
“The support from the fans was incredible. I had goosebumps warming up on the sidelines and the boys were immaculate. I’m very proud of everyone.”
Winger Garath McCleary also hopes that the Royals can take Saturday’s display into future games.
The wideman bagged Reading’s equaliser in the second half at Wembley Stadium and said that everyone, fans a players alike, should be proud of Saturday’s exploits.
“We’ll kick on from this and hopefully get some more wins between now and the end of the season,” he said.
“We played well from the first minute all the way through until the last minute of extra time. I thought we could have nicked it. Now we’ve got to continue that kind of performance in the last four games of the season.
“With that performance, we need to take it into our future games and into next year. We showed on Saturday how well we can play.
“That’s credit to the players, the gaffer and the coaching staff. They’ve been superb since they’ve come in and this FA Cup has shown how good we can be. I hope we’ve made the fans proud and our families proud.”
Jamie Mackie says that everyone connected with Reading could have left Wembley Stadium with their heads held high and that some real positives can be taken from the weekend.
“The fans were brilliant,” he said. “It was always going to be an enjoyable day for the fans but it wouldn’t have been that much of one had we turned up, rolled over and got beat.
“A lot of people may have predicted that, given that we were playing against a side with great players, a great manager and one that had won eight games on the spin, we’d get turned over.
“We never thought that, though. We’ve got good players and a very good manager. The gaffer set us up perfectly. To a man, the lads were brilliant and we didn’t leave anything out on the Wembley pitch.
“When we’re in the game, I really thought that we were going to win it. It wasn’t to be but we can take some real positives from the game.”