Jaap gave his post-match thoughts after a 'stressful' encounter with the MillersThe Royals left it late to snatch the three points they deserved at Rotherham - and manager Jaap Stam was relieved that all his team's possession had finally brought the reward of victory against a Millers side who made it very difficult for us.
"It was quite stressful!" Stam smiled at the end of the 1-0 win. "We had a couple of good chances in the second half and we should have scored, not that it was easy though - they made it very difficult for us in the direct way they played.
"Every ball they had, they threw into the box, throw ins – they took the time to clean and dry the ball – and then throw it into the box, they were basically like crosses! They’ve got a very physical team and when they throw it in there you never know where it might end up. It was difficult for us to defend.
"We're not the biggest side, we're not the most physical side. So teams know they can play like that against us. Ali had to make some good saves and they dropped in to restrict us.
"We were patient on the ball though...and you saw in the second half they got tired and we created some good chances to score.
"You see the very top teams often get a lot of possession and play against teams who drop in. And, in that scenario, you need to wait for that moment for the opportunity to create that bit space and then create your chance and maybe score a goal."
The Royals had recorded 80% possession in the first forty-five yet were struggling to find the breakthrough that could undo a hard-working Millers side - but the visitors' patience won through.
"A lot of possession doesn’t mean you can create a lot of chances very easily," Stam continued.
"If you keep possession, you saw it after ten minutes of the second half, spaces started to open up – we got a penalty, we hit the crossbar, we could have had a couple more. Eventually things open up, they got tired and the opposition are not sharp enough in certain situations. And then you take your chance!
"You never know how a team reacts to missing a penalty - of course everyone is disappointed when it happens, but we’ve seen in previous games that even if things don’t go our way, we keep on going. And this team kept going, they wanted to go forward.
"In this league, you can’t always create 15 or 20 chances in every single game, especially against teams who drop in. With all that possession we have, maybe in some games we’ll only get two or three clear cut chances. But when you get those chances, you need to finish them off! That is what is important."
And finish it off, club captain Paul McShane certainly did. "Paul gives everything for the team. He’s working very hard and he always wants to have the result. He got that ball in front of goal, controlled it, took his time - like a proper striker - and smashed it in.
"We’re very happy with the result and what was a very important goal for us. All the teams are so close to each other in the table, so it’s important to get the win – or else you can end up dropping down. So the points are always very important for us."