Royals boss proud of performance at St James' Park"We should have got something out of the game and we deserved a lot more than a 4-1 loss," Royals boss Jaap Stam said after a good away performance culminated in a somewhat harsh scoreline and defeat against Newcastle United tonight.
"If you look at the game overall, I think we were the better team. In terms of the style of play, the intent we showed, what we did on the pitch, I think we can be very proud of the guys.
"We earned possession, created a couple of good chances, got forward well – so I’m very happy with that. And if we work like we did, play like we did today, I’m sure we’re going to be winning a lot of games across the course of the season.
"We performed much, much better than we did at Wolves. And the players know that. I’ve spoken to the team and they agree – they know it was a much better performance.
"Everybody in Newcastle will see the scoreline and say they were the better team – but they weren’t. But the score is all important, that’s what wins you points and they scored goals which makes the difference."
The turning point in the match arguably came in the early part of the second half, when referee Andrew Madley pointed to the spot to award the home side a relatively soft penalty kick, yet waved away an appeal for a spotkick at the other end when McCleary was tripped inside the box.
"It was a clash between a couple of players, they fell over, their player fell over as well, and he gave an easy penalty," Stam said of the award of a United penalty.
"After that he could have given us a penalty, he should have given us a penalty, but he didn’t. He just waved it away when Garath went down. And after that you know it’s going to be difficult.
"I’m not looking for excuses, because I’m very proud of what the team have showed today. But referees are important, they can make or break a game. And I think the referee had a bad day today, making a few decisions I found very harsh."
Stam is well aware that, despite taking positives from tonight's performance, further improvement is the aim ahead of another tough match at home to Brighton this weekend.
"We conceded goals by conceding stupid fouls and free-kicks and I told the guys we need to work on not conceding goals like this. If you are not sharp enough with second balls or headers from corners, and if you give penalties away, you know you're making life difficult for yourself. The goals we are conceding goals, they are down to our own mistakes.
"But in a way, it’s good we have so many games in this division. When you lose, the players want to play again, want to win again. And we will be trying to win against Brighton on Saturday."