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Clarke: That was a big win

10 March 2015

Boss delighted with three key points

Manager Steve Clarke was rightly very pleased with his team after they comprehensively outplayed Brighton to take three vital points at Madejski Stadium.

Having made five changes to his starting XI, Steve saw his side in dominant form, winning 2-1 but it could have been many more.

Jamie Mackie got both goals either side of a soft penalty, and Clarke's side were rewarded with three fully-deserved points.

Steve said to the press post-match, "It's a big win for us. We spoke long and hard before the game about replicating the desire and energy from the weekend, and getting a couple of goals, and we managed to do that tonight.

"Brighton were just below us in the league so it was important to get some distance between us and them, and more importantly to get a bigger gap away from the bottom three.

"We created a lot of chances, and at half time I felt we should have been out of sight, my one criticism was that we didn't come in comfortable and two, three, four goals ahead.

"You always have that little feeling, when you're not on a great run, a little nervous, and the referee gave a penalty that personally I felt was embarrassing, never a penalty.

"For five minutes we lost our way but we dug deep, showed resilience, came through and deservedly got the winning goal.

"I've made a number of changes in recent matches, when it doesn't come off I get criticised, so I'd like to think tonight one or two people will say well done on the changes, because it worked!

"Saturday was a tough game on a heavy pitch, but I've got good staff and you could see tonight we were ready."

Mackie was man of the match and received a huge ovation when substituted late on, and Steve was happy to praise the 29-year-old, saying, "He's a striker on a hot streak.

"Four goals from him have helped us earn seven points so you shouldn't underestimate the value of that. He's great, he's enthusiastic, he might not be the silkiest player but look at his finishes, two great goals, right foot and left foot."

Nathaniel Chalobah slotted in at left back and again Clarke wanted to praise his player. "I said when I brought him here that he could play anywhere. First time in his life he's played left back, he said he's played right back before but I put him on the left and he looked like he'd played there all his life, outstanding.

"And also young Jake Cooper, he's worked ever so hard for that chance to play. He also had a really, really good game, don't be fooled by the soft penalty the referee gave.

"In terms of Alex Pearce, I think the doc is going to straighten his nose so he'll be fine, no big issue. We didn't take a chance on him and we had young Jake Cooper waiting to play."

Last but not least Clarke had a word of thanks to our fans, commenting, "Really good. I mentioned in my programme notes, we had a chat at the Fans Forum and I said sometimes the players need support - tonight they showed that.

"Hopefully Monday we'll have a full house and get it rocking again."

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