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Clarke: "The first goal was crucial"

7 November 2015

Royals boss gives his reaction to a 'tough defeat' in Wales

"Their goalkeeper was man of the match and I think that says a lot - for him to be so outstanding, then we must have been quite a threat going forward. And on another day, we would have got something from the game," Royals boss Steve Clarke said after a defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium this afternoon.

"We're obviously disappointed to lose what was a fairly even game. There was nothing in it in the first half but we conceded two goals from set plays, and after that it wouldn't go in the net for us.

"The first goal was always going to be crucial in a tight game like today's and that's how it proved. The free kick that led to the first goal was a soft one for me, and we got punished heavily for that.

"We didn't defend the set plays well, where we have normally. It was a good header, but we have to look at it and see how Kenwyne Jones managed to get in front of the man and score a header.

"Near the start of the second half we conceded again from another set play. It's not like us. They are quite a big team and they can get their heads on the ball, but it was too clean a header with no challenge on him.

"From there the response was good, we had to make the pitch very wide, and the game became open - and we had lots of chances but their goalkeeper made a lot of good saves.

"I've got to credit the players, they kept chasing, they kept trying and on that basis I think we deserved something. Instead, it's a tough defeat."

A number of players will go away and represent their countries now, looking to come back raring to go when Championship action gets back underway against Bolton in a fortnight's time.

"We've stuttered over the last couple of weeks so we have to go away, analyse, and come up with a way of playing that gets us back on the winning trail," Clarke said.

"The last time the international break came around, it came at a bad time for us - we were on a good run, we had good momentum, we were playing well, picking up lots of points.

"This time, perhaps it has come at a good time for us. We can go away, take stock, reassess, get ready to go again and come back stronger."


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