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Clarke: Watford's finishing was key

14 March 2015

Boss speaks after Vicarage Road loss

Royals boss Steve Clarke said Watford's finishing was key to their victory over his side.

The Hornets moved up to second in the Sky Bet Championship after a 4-1 win, with early goals in both halves proving vital.

4-1 did not tell the full story of the game, and with four full debutants we certainly played a part in the match, and had a very good opening to close the gap to 3-2 in the second half.

But ultimately Watford's attacking prowess saw them come out on top, and Steve told Reading FC Player after the match, "It's a disappointing scoreline and I think a little bit unfair on the effort of the team.

"I think the team didn’t deserve to lose by that scoreline. They were punished by a very, very good Watford team.

"Watford are good and we started too slow, conceding a goal in the first minute wasn’t the plan. We responded quite well to that, played some good stuff in the first half and got into some really good positions. But we couldn’t quite threaten the goal enough. There was one scramble from a corner that didn’t fall for us, as usual! But we will keep working away.

"The second goal was a poor goal to lose, it sort of knocked our confidence a little bit. Then we spoke at half-time about not conceding, but we conceded early which made it difficult for us. But the character that has been there in recent weeks came through.

"At 3-1 we had at least one really good opportunity where if Nick Blackman picks a pass to Jack Stacey I think we could have got back to 3-2 which would’ve given us a different finish to a game."

Captain Jem Karacan scored his first goal since August 2013 with a very well-taken finish from 20 yards, and Steve reflected, "I put Jem onto the pitch, he showed everyone that he’s still here, still around – and he scored a great goal.

"It’s been well documented how difficult it has been for Jemba over the last two years. Slowly we’re getting him back, you see today if we can get him back at 100% he’s a very good addition to our squad."

A number of players will have gained from the game, including full debutants Jure Travner, Jack Stacey, Zat Knight and Niall Keown - not to mention striker Andrija Novakovich who came off the bench. "They will have benefited from today. For the young players going forward it's great.

"For Zat Knight the 87 minutes is good physical work for him. Jure deserved a chance to play, he’s been waiting a long time – when his chance came on Tuesday night he was injured but he’ll also learn from today, even though he’s an experienced player."

He continued, "Something I've spoken about over a number of weeks since I got to the club is reaction. Reaction to adversity on the pitch. We showed that today.

"Like I said, the scoreline will look a little bit poorly on the team – but the effort, the application of the team and some of the football from the team, we had one move in the first half that was outstanding – they’ve only had two days training together.

"There were a lot of debuts, a lot of young boys that for their first taste of the Championship had a really difficult place to come, we will live and learn from this experience."

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