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Clarke delighted with 'terrific performance'

2 May 2015

Boss pleased with 3-0 victory

Steve Clarke was delighted with his team after they comprehensively saw off Derby County 3-0 on the final day of the season.

We were almost completely dominant, scoring inside two minutes through Kwesi Appiah, then adding further goals from Michael Hector and Garath McCleary.

Adam Federici also pulled off a vital penalty save at 1-0, and Clarke said, "It's a long overdue win but a terrific performance.

"I’m really pleased for the players because they’ve not had the breaks that they have deserved. For the supporters that came today, I’m delighted. Everybody thought that we were coming to Derby County’s party but we knew that if we played anywhere near our potential then we could cause them a few problems.

"We had almost complete control; very few scares. Obviously the penalty was a big moment in the game, a big save from Adam. He deserved to make the save after the crowd, in my opinion, had given him some ‘banter’ or whatever you want to call it. Whenever the crowd is like that and tries to wind you up the best way to have retribution is to be involved in a key moment in the game. Adam produced a penalty save and it was a key moment."

Jack Stacey made his first start for the club and looked bright, only to be forced off injured. But his replacement - debutant Tariqe Fosu - also stood out on the right wing.

It has been a very good couple of days for our Academy - the Under 21s won on Friday night to move closer to promotion, the Under 18s won 3-0 away at Liverpool on Saturday morning and then two more youngsters made a further step in their careers.

Steve said, "This type of thing is important for the club. This is a club that produces good young players. Our Academy and U21s have been really good this year and, Tariqe, Jack and Jake Cooper have all been a part of that. They all got on the pitch today and that is important for us going forward. It was unfortunate that Jack got injured but I was pleased that he went in for the tackle. He was strong and showed that he is committed to Reading Football Club. We want players like that. When I had to turn to the bench to make the change I had six choices and I thought that Tariqe was the best one. He’s lively, direct, he runs at defenders and I enjoy that. I used to be a defender myself and I didn’t used to enjoy players that run at you with the ball!"

Appiah's first goal in a Reading shirt came about with a very tidy finish, and Steve recalled, "I knew Kwesi would cause them a few problems because Derby’s full-backs tend to push on a bit and leave a bit of space. It came off a slack pass from them that Kwesi intercepted and it was a really good finish. It was a big moment in the game and moments like that change the whole complexion of the afternoon."

More than 600 Royals fans came to the East Midlands to see an excellent display, and Steve commented, "We appreciate their support and it's important for them to stick with us.

"I mentioned the other night that I was 100% confident that we wouldn’t be at the bottom end of the table next season. You see today why I came out with that statement. This is something to build upon. We have to make sure that next season the performance level is more like this and maybe on the final day of next season we’ll have 6,000 supporters following us. That would be fantastic.

"We haven’t won enough games since I came here, so I’ll enjoy this tonight. Tomorrow, though, I start work on next season."

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