Boss on our efforts to break down a deep-sitting City sideRoyals boss Jaap Stam was pleased with a point and a clean sheet against a Birmingham City side who sat deep and stifled his side’s extensive efforts to find the one opportunity that could have separated the sides tonight.
“We wanted the win. Home or away, we always want to go for the win and today was no different," he said after the game.
“But it wasn’t easy, because you’re playing against a tough side. They dropped in deep and had a lot of bodies in midfield – and they made it difficult for us to pass the ball through the spaces.
“We had a lot of possession, but we could and should have created more chances. If you play against a team who are playing that way, you need to be clever yourself, play at a very high pace, be consistent in what you’re doing – and at times we didn’t do that.
“At half-time, we showed them a couple of clips from the first half and showed the players how they could improve. And the players did that.
“Some games are not easy to play. But the players worked very hard, on a hot evening, and they went for the goal until the last minute.
“Crosses came in but we couldn’t get on the end of them. Sometimes, you create chances and score goals. Sometimes it’s more difficult and it doesn’t happen. We could have gone forward a lot quicker and it’s something to work on.
“But we get a clean sheet and a point out of the game. On the counter attack, with their pace, they could be very dangerous…so it’s still a good result.”
Ahead of the game, the manager was forced to make a last minute change to the starting line-up before kick-off and Joey van den Berg will be assessed by the physios tomorrow.
“We knew they would probably play 4-4-2, so we wanted to start with Joey in the middle of the two centre-backs.
“Joey got an injury to his hamstring in the warm-up - he had felt it beforehand, but wanted to try it in the warm-up. But he still felt his hamstring and after the warm-up the physios had a look at him and they made the decision it wasn’t sensible to put him on the pitch.
“But George stepped in and did a terrific job. We wanted to play with three at the back and the full backs pushing high up, and George can play there as we know.”