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Stam happy with clean sheet from debuting defenders

30 August 2016

Gaffer on performances from Moore and Blackett

Liam Moore and Tyler Blackett made their debuts in the league for Reading last Saturday in Cardiff – and their defensive performances contributed to a clean sheet and ultimately three points for the Royals.

After the match, manager Jaap Stam reflected on the performances of his new recruits, who joined this summer from Leicester and Manchester United respectively.

“Liam played in the cup game too of course, and he did very well,” said Stam after the match.  “And today as well.  He was very strong.  Together with Macca [Paul McShane], they were a great couple at centre-back – aggressive, winning battles, winning balls in the air, but comfortable with the ball at their feet.

“He did very well – he is aggressive and his timing is very good, and that’s why he wins a lot of headers.  When he is one-on-one with a striker, he wins most of the battles.  That’s what we want.

“Tyler played at left full back. We need to find his right position because, with the way we want to play, we need to have him high up the pitch as well. Sometimes he needs to make better choices, but by looking at him you can see he’s a quality player.

“He’s strong, he’s got a great physique, he’s quick – certain things we need to work on, but I think that’s normal; he’s only been training for a couple of days and then we needed him to make his debut in the league.”

Blackett’s start at full-back meant a place amongst the substitutes for Jordan Obita – the Academy graduate had an important part to play when he came off the bench, as he overlapped to cross for Yann Kermorgant to convert a winning goal.

The gaffer reserved praise for his contribution – as well as the tireless spirit of Welsh international Chris Gunter on the other side of defence, who was playing the role of visitor at the Cardiff City Stadium.

“We made a choice to start them today, it was a good choice,” the manager continued.  “That doesn’t mean that if Jordan and Joey [van den Berg] had been playing at the back we wouldn’t have won the game, because they have done very well and have that quality.

“Jordan is a great player. He’s been playing as a left winger, and he can still play there. Or maybe even in midfield. If you’ve got a lot of players who can do well in a lot of different positions, then that helps a manager.

“And Chris is a great guy. He’s very fit – he joined us after a good European Championships, two weeks after that. He’s got that drive he’s got that physique that allows him to keep playing games. He joined us two weeks after the Championships but he wanted to start earlier. He’s the type of professional – always taking care of himself, knows what to do on and off the pitch, take your rest, your food – and he wants to play every time. He’s got that quality we need in the team.”

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