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Clarke’s reaction to Crawley result

28 July 2015

Manager gives pre-season post-match analysis

Reading manager Steve Clarke gave a balanced reflection after the Royals’ 1-0 friendly defeat to Crawley Town, having gone down to Conor Henderson’s late strike at the Checkatrade.com Stadium on Monday night.

Danny Williams hit the frame of the goal from a tight angle in the first period, and Aaron Tshibola and Stephen Quinn both drew good saves from Red Devils stopper Aaron Lennox late on in a well-contested game. And there were several other positives to take from the match, such as a debut for new signing Orlando Sa and more minutes in the legs for many of the younger members of the squad. However Clarke was also forthright about the performance of his team.

“You can make some excuses – it was a bit of a make-shift back four, and we’re a bit short of fit centre-backs right now which is never a good thing,” Clarke said.  “I wanted to use two strikers tonight, so we had no natural width and we had to try a slightly different way of playing, and it didn’t really suit us.

“Some of the players were tired tonight, which is why I made some half-time changes that I had always planned to make.  It was Orlando Sa’s first 45 minutes and Simon Cox’s first 45 minutes of pre-season, so from a physical aspect some of them got minutes on the pitch which they needed.

“Orlando showed one or two good signs – he had one good header in the first half when he put it back across and Danny Williams could have scored.  But there’s plenty more to come.

“Hope Akpan and Jake Taylor needed minutes, and Dominic Samuel got some more – you can take all that out of the game, but the game itself was of a disappointing performance and one we deserved to lose.

“We have played Tottenham and Swansea in pre-season, so they were two good Premier League tests for us.  Tonight was a completely different game to those and it was a game that we didn’t handle very well, so that is maybe something we have to work on.”

The final pre-season game comes on Saturday, as La Liga outfit RCD Espanyol visit the Madejski Stadium for a 3pm kick-off.

That follows the Open Day at the club on Friday, and Clarke is hoping for a positive and productive final week before the Sky Bet Championship kicks off away at Birmingham on 8th August.

“I’ve got double sessions planned for Wednesday and Thursday – they’ll be a little more tactical than physical,” continued Clarke.  “And then we’ve got the Open Day on Friday – I hope that a lot of the supporters come along and take a look at the new group.

“We’ll be preparing for Espanyol, which is our last pre-season friendly, and it’d be nice to finish with a good win at home.”

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