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Ulderink pleased with hard work mentality

20 September 2016

Assistant reacts to a cup win with eight changes and ten men

Assistant Manager Andries Ulderink was very pleased with another performance full of hard work and endeavour from a side containing eight changes, coping with a game against a high-flying Brighton side with just ten men for almost an hour of tonight's cup tie at the Amex.

"We started very well when it was eleven against eleven - it was a little bit like Saturday. We dominated the game and created a couple of great chances.

"I must be honest, Brighton had a couple of good chances too, but overall we were very happy with the eleven v eleven situation and we deserved our first goal.

"You hoped we would get the second goal in the first half. But then the sending off and the game changes...again.

"My first reaction was that Tyler was playing the ball with the tackle, but the referee explained his decision to me at half-time and told me that, after he touched the ball, he went on with his leg into the leg of the opponent.

"It's difficult for me to say much more, I didn't see him touch the player so I can't say whether it was a red card or not. I thought he maybe slipped a little bit too and he definitely played the ball. But I haven't spoken to Tyler about it yet.

"Then, at the start of the second half, we created a great goal and at 2-0 that gave the team a lot of confidence.

"We had a couple of players with some small issues - Liam Moore had a dead leg to had to come off, Swifty is still not 100% - so we had to make a couple of changes because of the team's fitness.

"But we worked very hard. And it was hard work, defending more than playing the football we like to play. And we probably got a little bit lucky in three or four moments near the end when they could have made it 2-2, but overall the players deserved the win."

The Royals made eight changes to the starting line-up and ended the match with another suspension to bear and a knock for Liam Moore - Chris Gunter and Danzell Gravenberch filled in at centre-half for much of the second half. But Reading's strength in depth came to the fore...

"Dom Samuel, Liam Kelly, Tennai Watson, Danzell coming in, Joseph and Callum working hard up front, Tyler for the first time at centre-back - if you look at what they bring, in terms of the mentality to work hard for the team, we can be very happy with that.

"You give these players some advice and tips in training and in the Under-23s, but you are naturally very curious how they will do in a game like this. And I think they did quite well.

"And we will need them. We have a couple of suspensions, a couple of injuries, so it's good we have a little bit of depth in the squad.

"It's only the end of September. The season is long, but so far we can be very happy with how the team is performing," Andries continued. "And not only in the good times, but also in the bad times - we have played with ten men for two games in a row and won both matches.

"The team on Saturday did it. The team tonight, a different team, again did it. As a staff you have to be happy with that. And to get this momentum is good. But you know as well as I do, how long this season is and it's tough to keep that momentum. But that will be our challenge."

Unbeaten in seven, the Royals now host table-topping Huddersfield Town at the Madejski this weekend...a game Royals fans won't want to miss.

"It will be nice to be at home against number one in the league at Madejski Stadium. I'm looking forward to it," Ulderink admitted.

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