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Clarke: That's for the players, fans & owners

16 March 2015

Royals boss speaks on super 3-0 win

Royals boss Steve Clarke was delighted to see his team reach an historic FA Cup semi-final - and dedicated the victory to his squad, the supporters and our owners.

The FA Cup has given the Club a huge lift this season, and Clarke has taken his team to our first semi-final since 1927.

It was a fantastic performance from his team, and the manager told his post-match press conference, "Firstly I'm pleased for the players. It's been a difficult season for them but they've got something to enjoy tonight.

"I'm pleased for the supporters, who turned up tonight as I asked, and made a big difference to the atmosphere around the place, very positive and the players responded.

"And I'm pleased for the owners. They came out tonight, hoping to see a good performance and a big win, we managed to do that for them so I am pleased for everybody."

Clarke's men dominated throughout, and he continued, "From start to finish a great night was had by all, wonderful atmosphere, great support and a terrific performance by the team.

"A good start is always important, we always speak about it and tonight we got it. We scored off a set play which is the first for a while, so it was nice to see that going in.

"For the second goal, I've been speaking to Garath about coming inside and trying his luck with his left foot. It just shows you what happens, you get the break with the big deflection and suddenly at 2-0 we are in a great position to go on and control the game comfortably.

"We get the third in the second half and see the game out easily."

In front of a huge TV audience in both the UK and abroad, Steve's team put on a great show and he said, "That was the aim tonight, to showcase the club. Live on BBC, I’m sure there was a big audience worldwide as well and they would see the stadium with a great atmosphere and a good team."

His team played with verve and desire, qualities Clarke was very happy to highlight. "You could see how much it meant to the players, the effort they put in, the way they started the game, the way they controlled the game.

"They didn’t switch off for a minute – we spoke at half time about making sure Bradford didn’t get a foothold in the game, and we didn’t give them a chance to get in the game at all. From start to finish tonight was excellent."

It was put to Steve that a semi-final at Arsenal would be a day to remember, and he countered, "Really bad choice of words, it's never a day out. We go to the semi-final of the FA Cup, we go to try and get a result and get to the final.

"Because of the size of the occasion tonight I’ve given the players a couple of days off just to rest their minds, but we come back in Thursday and focus immediately on the game at The Valley on the weekend against Charlton which is really important for us. We want to get as safe or as far up the table as we can as quickly as possible. Three points would be great."

And having played in front of a full house, Steve wants to see those fans back at Madejski Stadium in our remaining fixtures. "I look forward to seeing all those fans back in here for the next league game, that would be a really big boost for all the team – if we can get that again, a really big atmosphere makes such a big difference to all the team."

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