Over two-thirds of the possession, some scything football and limiting their visitors in their opportunities… it was a good night at Madejski Stadium for Reading as Aston Villa were seen off by a 2-1 scoreline.
The Royals were cruising to victory when Glenn Whelan inadvertently deflected Adi Popa’s cross over the line and Modou Barrow notched his first since joining the club. However Conor Hourihane gave the Villans some oxygen with an 87th-minute half-volley… Reading dug deep and claimed all three points.
“We had those moments last season a few times as well!” said Royals gaffer, about the late edge-of-the-seat stuff as the Royals dug in to win. “We talk about making progress and we try to avoid these moments… but the players worked very, very hard. We had a lot of possession and created a lot of opportunities to score.
“We scored two great goals and could have scored a lot more – and maybe should have done as well. And in doing that we didn’t give a lot of opportunities away. There was one incident in the first few minutes when we lost the ball and they went through, and Vito Mannone was very important in making that save.
“But overall in the game, we deserved to win it in how we played and with the amount of opportunities that was made.
“Towards the end you always know that the opposition need to do something. And with the quality that they have, it is logical that our players will get tired as well and give bigger spaces away than in the beginning of the game.
“When they played balls into the box with the physique that they have, they can make it difficult for us. But all in all we are very happy with the result and how we played.
“It is a big compliment for the team and what they have done. We needed the three points – it wasn’t going to be easy against a big club like Villa, but in how we played, we deserved it.
“Everybody wants to win every game. We could and should have won last weekend as well, but we didn’t. This game was very important for us and the belief of the team and the players, to get the win. In the way that we played, we fully deserved it.”
It marked a first win of the season, building on the score-draw with Fulham at the weekend to get the Royals’ season up and running in earnest.
“We always speak about what we want to do – that’s how we train and that’s what we were doing from last season,” Jaap said. “Now we want to add to it at the beginning of this season, with certain things.
“Players know what we ask from them, and now they need be more clever in certain occasions and more patient in certain positions.
“I think they were today. Last Saturday against Fulham we did well and got a draw, but today we went one better and got a win.
“It’s about wanting to become a better player and a better team and investing in that, and learning from what we talk about. That’s what they have done, and I’m very happy with that.”