Defender talks to readingfc.co.ukStephen Kelly was left slightly frustrated as Reading failed to make their dominance of possession count in the draw at Millwall on Tuesday evening.
The Royals enjoyed 65 per cent of the ball against the 10-man Lions, who had defender Sid Nelson sent off just before half time for a robust challenge on Michael Hector, as the game finished goalless.
But although they did not register the three points, Kelly was also pleased with his side’s ball retention and defensive solidity.
“When a team goes down to 10 men they put a lot of players behind the ball and that makes it hard to create opportunities,” he said. “We had a lot of possession, got forward well, put balls into the box but we just weren’t there to get onto the end of them.
“It’s a good point but an opportunity missed, I think. We would have preferred it if he had stayed on the pitch to be honest because we were starting to get in behind them, whereas as soon as they went down to 10 men they just put two banks of four back there. It was difficult to break them down.
“We limited them to a few chances; they had one header that Feds saved. It was just a case of long balls into the box and them looking for knock downs.
“We have been solid and even when we were a bit expansive and pushed a lot of people forward, we still had that solid base, which is good. Defensive errors have cost us a lot throughout the season, especially early on, which is probably why we’re in the position that we are now.
“That’s hopefully been nipped in the bud now, though. A clean sheet again, and coming back from 1-0 down on Saturday shows the team spirit and the commitment to the club.”
Reading’s task was made difficult as Nelson’s dismissal sparked the Den's home spectators into life.
Kelly said: “Against a team like Millwall, the crowd can always be a factor. As soon as he got sent off that just galvanised them. The crowd were magnificent to be honest and to play with that kind of backing gave them that little bit extra they needed to get to the ball.
“It was good for them but, for us, we kept the ball, limited them to not much and played good football at times. But we just didn’t do the final bit in the last third.”