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Clarke disappointed to lose after leading

28 November 2015

Royals boss gives his reaction after a 3-1 defeat in Nottingham

Royals boss Steve Clarke was understandably disappointed to take nothing from a game in which his side took the lead but failed to take any reward from.

"It started scrappily, neither team getting hold of the ball in windy, blustery conditions. Nobody could put their foot on it and dominate the game.

"But after a cagey opening, the biggest disappointment was that having got our noses in front with a good finish from Matej Vydra, we then conceded too quickly. That gave Forest a boost, a bit of life.

"Then they got the second and it was a little bit soft from us. The scored from a breakaway from our corner - something we spoke about before the game to make sure it didn't happen. But it did happen.

"Then at half-time we spoke about keeping it tight at the start of the second half, staying in the game as long as possible to try to twist the pressure onto Forest holding onto a one goal lead. And we gave them a cushion of a two goal lead quite early in the second half - which makes it a long way back.

"The sending off just served to concentrate Forest minds - they're down to ten men, they know they're going to defend with two banks of four and make it difficult. They crowded the penalty area which made it difficult to create anything clear cut. We tried, we kept getting the ball in the box, we kept getting shots away, but today wasn't our day.

"And Forest deserved to win. We've had a little dip in form recently, we thought we'd got over it with a win at home against Bolton last weekend. We thought that win was the start of an upswing in fortunes. But coming here was always going to be difficult as Derby found out coming here in their last home game."

With results elsewhere, the Royals dropped two positions in the league but lost no ground on sixth spot - Reading will go into Thursday night's clash with QPR just one point outside the play-off places. However, the manager was open in how important it is we turn around this recent slide in form.

"Every team has difficult moments, this is a difficult moment for us right now. We have to dig deep and work harder in trying to get ourselves out of this little run we're in.

"We have to be stronger mentally, maybe we have to be more difficult to beat. We're missing something and we've got to put it right as quickly as possible.

"It's a disappointing defeat today. But you have to keep a sense of perspective and the chase for a play-off place is across a long season. There are many games still to go.

"The players are disappointed to lose today, they're disappointed with their recent performances. We came here looking for three points, we go away with nothing.

"But we had a good chat in the dressing room after today's match, no tantrums, just a good honest chat. And we'll look to build from this. We're fortunate in that we don't have to wait until Saturday for our next game, we only have until Thursday night.

"It's a tough division, but a division in which you can't get too down. We've got QPR at home on Thursday night and if we get a good win there we're right back in the mix. And that's what we have to aim for.

"We need the supporters to get right behind us, the players have to step up to the mark, I have to step up to the mark and we have to start picking up points again."

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