The gaffer says he and his side are determined to take three points in their final league home game...Royals manager Jaap Stam says the team are leaving no stone unturned in preparations for Saturday’s last home clash of the season against Wigan Athletic, as the Royals go in search of securing their top six spot.
Despite only needing a point from the weekend’s meeting with the Latics to make sure of a play-off place, Stam and his team are determined to take all three points in front of a home crowd.
“In training throughout the week we’ve been sharp, we’ve been aggressive and we know what to do,” said the gaffer. “We need a point, but we don’t think like that. The way I look at it and the way the team have been performing so far this season we need to win this game.
“We are a good team,” he continued. “We can play well and we can make it difficult for every opposition. Everybody needs to be focussed and have their mind set. That is what we need to do.”
Wigan have had a difficult season in the Sky Bet Championship and find themselves six points from safety with two games to play, meaning Saturday is a must win game for the Latics.
Stam says his side are well aware of Wigan’s plight and will not be underestimating their opposition, learning lessons in recent weeks about how dangerous teams near the tail end of the league can be.
“We need to make sure that we don’t get surprised and that we are sharp and focussed from the beginning of the game,” insisted the manager. “We need to make sure that we score that first goal and not the opposition.
“Just because we play at home against Wigan doesn’t not mean we will win the game easily. It is going to be tough, they really go for it. I’ve seen that in the last couple of games they’ve played. They have made it very hard for their opposition.
“On the ball, when you give them time, they can play and you can see that. The last game we had at home against Rotherham it wasn’t the easiest. They had that sort of game plan where they score one goal and after that defend deep and try to hold on to get the three points.
In this league everything is very close, it’ a strange competition because everybody can beat everybody. It does not mean because you are near the top of the league that you can beat the teams at the bottom very easily.
“Nobody expected us to be in the top six to be honest,” Jaap continued. “It’s all up to the players and what they’ve done and how they’ve been working this season. We need to maintain that spirit and that quality going into the last two and especially on Saturday to get a result. We need to make sure we’re in the top six and then we’ve got at least two and hopefully three games to look forward to after the season ends.”