U21s boss targeting ruthless streakMartin Kuhl says that Reading’s U21s will learn a valuable lesson from last week’s extra-time, Premier League Cup semi-final defeat at Blackburn – the need to be ruthless.
Despite dominating from almost the entire 120 minutes, they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Leigh Sports Village on Thursday evening.
Tariqe Fosu deservedly hauled the Royals level on 79 minutes, having gone behind midway through the first-half, but a soft, extra-time penalty eventually proved to be the difference between the sides.
Kuhl’s men hit the woodwork three times over the course of the night but were unable to secure their place in the final of the tournament that they won last April.
Reading’s Professional Phase Coach said: “We made two mistakes and it cost us goals. We had enough chances to win the game and we didn't take them. That's football. We let ourselves down in a professional way where the build up to their goals came from mistakes from us.
“The gaffer is big on ruthlessness, keeping clean sheets and not giving chances away, and I agree with him. If you're going to give soft goals away then you have to create a lot yourselves.
“Both of Blackburn's goals were stoppable but all the way through the game I thought that we were going to make a chance. You just had to hope that one went into the back of the net but it just didn't happen.”
Ryan Edwards, Harry Cardwell and Andrija Novakovich all smacked the goal frame, with the latter’s effort coming with one of the last kicks of the game.
Kuhl noted: “I always thought we'd get a chance, even at 2-1 down with a couple of minutes to go. We did. It falls to Andrija; he hits it and it rattles the bar.
“That's cup football, though, and that's football in life. It was one of those days where we couldn't score, so you have to keep a clean sheet.
“If it doesn't go in then it isn't a goal; no matter how close you get. The lads really tried on Thursday and gave it their all. If you're going to go out, and it's never easy to go out, then we have gone out the right way; by trying to play football and creating chances.
“I've said to them that cup football is just all about winning. Blackburn are in the final now and fair play to them – they did the job. They were hard to break down and they asked a couple of questions of us.
“We asked a lot of questions of them and we had our fair share of chances. At the end of the day, though, they put the ball in the net twice and we only did once.”