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Clarke: Character and spirit key

21 February 2015

Royals boss on Ipswich Town win

“If you don’t come and battle and stand up at a place like this you lose. You have to be a man when you come here and, today, we had a lot of men on the pitch.”

Steve Clarke was clearly delighted with the spirit shown by his side in their one goal win over Ipswich Town, especially off the back of a disappointing defeat at home to Wigan in midweek.

Mick McCarthy’s Tractor Boys had the best home record in the league prior to the weekend, with their defeat to the Royals only their third Championship loss of the season on home turf. Jamie Mackie’s winner was the 10th goal conceded in 16 Championship games at Portman Road.

“It was the reaction I expected,” continued Clarke. “We have had a couple of blows at home recently, but we have always shown resilience to bounce back. That shows you the character of the group. We are determined to push higher up the table, we know that we should be higher up and we’re determined between now and the end of the season to address that.”

Indeed the Scotsman admitted there was an element on frustration at seeing his side produce such a different display to that shown at Madejski Stadium four days previously.

“I didn’t know whether to be happy for them today or whether to be a little bit angry with the fact that we can’t produce that type of performance at home. It’s a big three points. There was a lot of huffing and puffing from Ipswich in our box but they didn’t really create anything clear cut. We got the break with the goal and it was enough for three points.”

The fixtures continue to be unrelenting. A 260 mile round trip to Portman Road is followed by a 420 mile slog to Huddersfield and back; once again the whole squad are at the ready.

“I thought the team in last 15/20 minutes looked a bit tired, a bit leggy. I wouldn’t say we were hanging on but it’s maybe something I need to look at, to freshen the squad up on Tuesday night.
It’s a big ask. We’ve got two days to recover, one of those days will be spent with three or four hours on a coach minimum. It’s a tough schedule.”

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