Defender looking to bounce back from defeatThe Royals fell to their very first defeat at Madejski Stadium in 2016/17 at the hands of Aston Villa on Tuesday – defender Chris Gunter knows that the most important thing in any defeat is to look redress the balance as early as possible.
Jordan Ayew’s 90th-minute penalty gave the Villans the points, but three more will be at stake on Saturday when Reading visit Rotherham – who parted company with their manager Alan Stubbs on Wednesday.
“When you concede that late on, it is disappointing,” said Gunter. “But as footballers you are programmed into being disappointed for a certain amount of time – then you reflect on it and look at what you could do better, and quickly move ahead to the next game. That’s what we’ve done today, and we’ll continue to do that right up until the game at the weekend.
“We want to win every game and we want to play as well as we can in every game. We have to be realistic enough to know that won’t happen every week over a 46-game season… that doesn’t make it any easier to accept, but you will get knock-backs and it’s about how you respond.
“We have another game now in a couple of days’ time and it’s up to us to respond and to try to better the things that we didn’t do well on Tuesday.
“And it’s not just in terms of Tuesday’s game, or Saturday’s… it’s about trying to be better as players and looking ahead to the bigger picture as well. We know if we do that, we’re on the right path.”
As often is the case in the Championship, it was just the odd goal that decided the Tuesday-night meeting with Villa. It was a match which was on a knife-edge – in fact Reading were on the ascendency in the closing stages of the game.
Gunter reiterated the importance of taking an objective view of the game, rather than letting the scoreline completely colour their assessment of their performance.
“Sometimes results can affect people’s thinking of how it went… we played Huddersfield a couple of weeks ago and won 1-0, and it looks like a fantastic result and performance in terms of winning a game against the team that is top of the league and keeping a clean sheet – but if you were at that game, you could probably say that we could have conceded a goal or two and not won the game,” Gunter admitted. “But the result can kid you into thinking it was better than it was.
“Likewise, on Tuesday, we did really well in large parts of the game – but we lost. So we can’t come away thinking that everything was bad and really negative and that’s why we come in and look at it; we take what we need from it and move on. They are going to happen through the season, but as long as you’re looking to put it right, that’s the main thing.”
First on the agenda for the Wednesday morning was to pick through the previous evening’s match footage and identify noteworthy passages of play – both good and bad – to ensure that they are as well-prepared as possible going to Rotherham.
He continued: “We look at things which to the eye you don’t really see – at this level, they are the things that make the difference, and if we can, we’ll make sure that we don’t do them again.
“At any given time we have got 11 players out there doing their absolute best. That doesn’t mean that we won’t make mistakes, but it’s about trying to limit them and being in a position where we can work on it and get better. We’re always trying to give ourselves the best chance to get a result, and if we can do that at the weekend, we’ll be able to move on to the games ahead.”