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Fulham defeat ‘a reality check’, says Clarke

24 October 2015

Manager on defeat at the Cottage

The Royals were undone at the hands of Fulham at the Cottagers turned a deficit into an advantage within a whirlwind six minutes in West London, eventually triumphing 4-2.

Reading had conceded just eight goals in 12 Championship games going into the weekend, and manager Steve Clarke was unhappy that the team had been so uncharacteristically porous in the game.  In particular he was disappointed that the home side had been afforded the chance to swing the momentum so swiftly, and felt that the result offered everyone a wake-up call.

“At the moment it is still quite difficult to get my head around because for most of the game we were in control, but we had a crazy spell and Fulham scored three goals in five or six minutes,” said Clarke.  “It turned the game on its head and we went from being a team that looked very assured and playing good attacking football, to suddenly looking very weak.

“It went from 2-1 to 2-2 and then to 2-3 very quickly, and it is uncharacteristic.  It’s not the way that you want your team to play; you want your team to respond better to adversity in the game and if that’s something that we have to work on, then we start working on it immediately.

“We pride ourselves on being solid at the back and that we haven’t conceded many shots and haven’t conceded many goals.  Nobody that has watched Reading this season could have said they would see a game where we would concede four goals.

“I’ll go away and do my work and assess how we are and how we played in the cold light of day, rather than now when it’s a little bit emotional.  I didn’t trust myself to speak to the players after the game because I was so angry, so I want to go home and watch the game again.

“It was completely unexpected and out of the blue.  But sometimes it is a little wake-up call and a reality check.  I’ve said that we have come a long way since the summer; we changed a lot in the club and we have been riding on the crest of a wave a little bit.  But this division is unforgiving and if you switch off for a moment, you can get punished.

“We have been punished today and we have to take stock, reassess and look to go forward again.”

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