Royals boss reacts to an opening day victoryRoyals boss Jaap Stam was understandably delighted with a win, a good performance, and a promising start to the brand new season after John Swift's goal separated the sides this afternoon.
"It’s very pleasing," he began. "Of course you want to win every game that you play. But of course at the beginning of the season, in the very first game, it’s very important you start well and, especially with a lot of new players in the squad and a new system, I think we performed very well.
"If you look at the first half, how we played in possession, we kept the ball and we were patient, we created a couple of very good chances and I think we should have finished it off.
"We didn’t, and you know if you don’t do that it’s going to be difficult towards the end of the game. In the second half they played a bit of a different system, instead of a 5-3-2, they were putting us under a bit more pressure and sometimes we had a bit of difficulty playing balls through.
"But never the less we still had a very good chance with Deniss Rakels to score and make it 2-0. We didn’t manage that, but we won and that’s the most important thing."
It was Stam's first match as manager and, standing on the sidelines he orchestrated everything from the very edge of his technical area throughout the ninety minutes. "I’ve always said playing football is the best thing you can do. Being a manager is the second best I think.
"It’s very tempting to step onto the pitch yourself, but it’s a totally different job of course. And I know what players we have...we put a lot of trust in the players and the system, how we want to play - and they’ve done very well in pre-season.
"It was very good to watch, that’s what we’re aiming for. I know you proabably can’t do that against every team and this is only the start. There is a lot of hard work ahead and we’re not there yet - we’ve only been working for six weeks so we can’t achieve miracles in six weeks.
"But I think where the players are at the moment we’re very happy with that, and of course with that the result is very important as well."
In total, Stam handed five debuts out on the opening day and he was pleased with how the new faces amongst the squad are linking up together - and he intends to make some more changes on Tuesday night when we host Plymouth Argyle in the EFL Cup. "We’re probably going to make a few changes, but it’s a game that we want to win as well.
"It’s not a game that we are going to use for other players to get their minutes or to get their fitness levels up. It’s a game that we want to win and we’re going to take that very seriously as well."
Finally, he paid tribute to the home fans who responded to the new style of play and revelled in what was only the second opening day win in the last ten years.
"I think the crowd was very good today, the team and players can feel that as well. Of course, it helps if the team is performing well, playing in a certain way, attractive football, creating chances, getting forward.
"But it’s very important that the crowd are helping the players out, cheering them on. Because sometimes, as you saw today towards the end of the game, the players need the support of the crowd to push them through."