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Stam | “Early goals were key”

5 November 2016

Stam explains the plan we put in place at the DW Stadium

57 seconds in and Reading were rattling a Wigan outfit trying to burst out of the blocks themselves under a new manager in front of their home fans. And it was Garath McCleary's brace that put the Royals in the driving seat at the DW Stadium this afternoon.

"We knew with a new manager, what they could do to us," Royals boss Jaap Stam began. "They will have known how we want to play and we expected them to press high up the pitch.

"So, as a result, we were looking to play that ball in behind into our runners from midfield and the forward players...and that's what happened at the beginning of the game. And we scored two great goals.

"We always talk about it during the week in training, because our wide players can't stay wide, they have to make those runs in behind and take up the position of the striker - if they do it creates confusion in the opposition.

"So we're always trying to look for those pockets in behind and with quality players like Swifty, with the technical capabilities he has in his game, if you get the ball into his feet, he can create things.

"We needed to start very aggressively, with runs in behind using the pace we have - and that's what we did. We scored that very early goal, then got a second through G-Mac - and that makes immediately makes it more difficult for the opposition."

Wigan had no response. Although the Latics tried to find a route back into the game, Ali Al Habsi had very little to do on his return to the north-west. "We defended very well," Stam continued.

"Games against teams near the bottom of the table can be very difficult. But we put 100% work rate into it and we got the win we deserved.

"We didn't give a lot of chances away and we created more chances of our own. We didn't score them, but I'm very happy with the win of course.

"It's all about the timing, playing that pass, making that run. It's very important to our game. We're looking for that moment every time - it doesn't always happen as you want it to go. But today, we seemed to do it quite well."

The Royals now go into a two-week break in league proceedings with a comprehensive win to reflect on. But there will be no resting on laurels at Reading.

"When things are going well, it's even more important to analyse the things that aren't going well. It's more important to do it when you have won, because if you do it when you've lost, you are analysing things too late.

"We always try to improve our game. Sometimes it goes better than other times, but we're quite consistent in what we want to do and we're getting results.

"The break is always welcome. But when you're in a rhythm you want to play, so certain players who were here today will join the U23s to play in the Checkatrade Trophy game on Wednesday. The internationals will go away and play of course, and the rest of the squad we will stay behind and we will work to improve them and get them into shape fitness-wise."

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