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“It’s a joy to be part of this team”

19 December 2016

Skipper lauds manager for last gasp winner at Ewood Park

Captain Paul McShane walked off the pitch with three points to show for another bruising battle against a Blackburn side who caused us plenty of problems in the box but couldn’t take anything from the last EFL encounter before Christmas.

“We took the lead twice and then conceded two from set pieces – so it was mainly a feeling of relief that we’d come away with three points, rather than happiness after the game,” he told Reading FC Player HD.

“Every team in the league has their strengths and they were winning their fair share of headers up there, so it was important that we challenged and won what we could, picking up the second balls.”

And at the other end, George Evans stole the headlines with a well-taken 92nd minute winner. “It was good decision making by G,” McShane said.

“He didn’t get hot-headed and lash it across the box…he composed himself and picked out George and it was a great finish into the corner!

“It was great to see because we’d talked about the chances we created but didn’t take against Leeds earlier in the week.

“And it was brilliant for the manager – he picked out clips form the Leeds game, he showed us what we should be doing, what different decisions we can make and I think that definitely helped us in that situation at the end on Saturday evening.”

The Royals go into a Boxing Day fixture against Norwich City in third place in the Championship, but City form part of a chasing pack looking to challenge for a top six spot going into 2017.

“We’re up there in third. At the end of last season, who would have said we’d be third going into Christmas?

“So we’ve done well and we deserve to be up there – the lads work hard and the manager works extremely hard.

“He’s got us set up brilliantly and the way we are playing is the correct way of playing; keeping the ball, possession, it’s a joy to be part of this team.

“And it’s nice to see it paying off with results. We are going to make mistakes and lose the odd game here or there, but we’ll keep working hard and keep doing what we’re doing - and hopefully still be in a good position come the end of the season.”

Tickets for the meeting with the Canaries on Boxing Day are on sale now and the festive fixture is sure to produce a good atmosphere at Madejski Stadium – it is certainly a game our skipper is looking forward to!

“It’s never going to be easy – this league is a battle week in, week out. And we’ve got to be up for it and ready for anything.

“But it’s always a good atmosphere on Boxing Day and we’ve got a little break this week where we can get ourselves together and prepare for Norwich – a good team with good players.

“They’ve had a bit of a dip in form recently, but they have the capability of hurting us, like so many teams in this division.

“So we’ll have loads of Christmas Turkey, gravy and stuffing and be absolutely stuffed on Boxing Day…not really! Only joking!

“We’ll have to be careful over Christmas as footballers – it’s the season to be indulgent for so many but it’s key that we have that discipline to not do that sort of stuff. We’ll get ourselves ready for another tough test, and let’s see what happens!”

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