Manager rues 'off day' display at Craven Cottage"If you start the game like that, the opposition is going to make it difficult for you," Royals boss Jaap Stam said after the reality check of a 5-0 defeat at Fulham. A run of five straight wins, with just one goal conceded, ended with a Craven Cottage performance to forget.
"We knew they were going to be very aggressive and we were prepared, but if you’re not switched on, not sharp enough when you have the ball, in your 1v1s defensively and communication-wise – you make it easier for the opposition.
"They made it very hard for us, they played well and we knew from the start they had a lot of quality in the squad. We conceded a second one, then the red card – Danny had the ball, he wanted to try to pass it or kick it out of play, the Fulham player fell on him and Danny could have touched him but I don’t think it’s a red card!
"And you want players to react when they're down, because you need to be mentally strong. You want to keep it close, keep the areas small so they don’t have time to play and pass the ball through. But we gave them too much space, too much time on the ball, we made wrong decisions, gave it away too quick – and they punished us!"
The Royals boss was now putting emphasis on how his team would respond next weekend, when we host Sheffield Wednesday at Madejski Stadium.
"Even when I played at United - we didn’t concede a lot of goals - but we sometimes you lose four or five. So it happens. It’s an off day.
"Everybody who played today can do a better job. It’s not about the injuries, the players we have missing, not at all. And it’s not only about one player out there, it was most of the players today - we were too soft, not good enough on the ball and they chased us all over the pitch, going forward, getting to second balls, sprinting, anticipating situations...we didn’t do that today and that is why we lost that game.
"What is important after results like these is what you do afterwards. How you bounce back. Can we win that next game? It’s not about one game, it’s about the whole season, the long game."