Manager on Royals’ mental strengthRoyals boss Jaap Stam believed that back-to-back wins in a demanding Easter schedule demonstrated the mental fortitude that this Reading side has.
Our trip to Villa Park was the only Championship match on the Saturday, meaning they had a day less than Rotherham to recover and prepare for the fixture on Easter Monday.
And after going behind against the Millers, the Royals kept their patience and concentration, and twice found a way through a stubborn rearguard to earn a remarkable 15th home win of what has been an amazing campaign to date.
“I was very pleased – we all knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, playing both Villa and Rotherham in just three days,” Jaap said, reflecting on a demanding Easter. “It was always going to be tough.
“At Villa, the players did really well against a very good side and got the three points. Of course some people thought Rotherham would be easy, but it’s not – playing so soon after is not so easy physically, and mentally it is not easy either.
“But everyone was very committed to get that result against Rotherham. We could have started better, but that’s not because the players were expecting it to be easy. There was a bit of fatigue and we went a goal down, and we needed to get back into it, and get that equaliser and eventually the winner.
“It tells you something about the team and in how they are. They are mentally strong. We have had situations this season when we have lost and we have come back with a winning streak.
“The players are in a good position – where they need to do well and they can do well. They are allowed to make mistakes but still get results. Everybody is very happy at the moment.”
And those physical exertions of playing twice in 48 hours means the team have had some lighter sessions to ensure their legs are fresh for our visit to Nottingham Forest this weekend.
“We’ve had a couple more days this week than we had for the last game, but the players need to have their recovery and spend their time getting fit and feeling good again for Forest.
“There has been a lot of recovery and we’ve talked a lot about the games we’ve been playing. Today was an easy session and tomorrow we’ll do the tactical bit for the game on Saturday.”