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Bright start and defensive resolve delights Clarke

19 September 2015

Manager gives reaction to victory in Bristol

Royals boss Steve Clarke was pleased with the way the Royals opened up a quick-fire lead away at Bristol City, and the way they defended their advantage from there.

Early goals from Nick Blackman and Garath McCleary – both finding space in the opposition half – meant that Reading had a nice buffer to work with from there.  Reading continued to make chances but, more importantly, blunted the Robins’ attack and the clean-sheet secured the three points.

“It’s difficult to go away anywhere in the Championship, but we came here and made a great start with two goals in the first 15 minutes,” he said.  “From there it was quite a comfortable afternoon for us.

“They were two good shots – they came from spaces we thought would appear in the course of the game, and we exploited it well.  The preparation was good for the game.  We knew the strengths and weaknesses of Bristol City and we managed to exploit the weaknesses early in the game. 

“Bristol City’s strengths showed late in the game when they kept going and kept coming at us, and then my goalkeeper, back four and midfield in front were solid and didn’t give much away.

“It’s always nice when you go away from home and get the first goal because they onus is more on the home team to come forward.  I’ve seen Bristol City a few times this year and Steve Cotterill wants his teams to attack.  Sometimes it pays off for them, and today it didn’t because we got the goals to get in front and then we defended the lead very well.

“If there is one side of the game we could have done better, we could have picked the final pass a little bit better when we had a number of opportunities – if we had picked the correct pass or got the weight of the pass right, we could have inflicted a bit more damage on them.

“But it is nice to come away from home and have a solid performance, get a clean-sheet, and that meant two goals was more than enough to get us the three points.”

Defensive duo Paul McShane and Michael Hector were both in the wars – the Royals captain received stitches in the first period after his forehead was opened up.  He was especially pleased with the showing of former Academy youngster Hector, who put in an eye-catching defensive display in the Royals’ rear-guard.

“Paul is a warrior – he has been in the game a long time, and he understands what the game is about,” he said.  “And I was very impressed with Michael Hector – he has had a strange few weeks where he went to Chelsea but didn’t really go there because he came straight back to us. 

“His performance today was outstanding – this is the Michael Hector I saw in the second half of last season and he showed why two Premier League clubs wanted to pay a lot of money for him.”

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