January 2017 accolade comes the coaching staff’s way!We are delighted to announce that manager Jaap Stam has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for January 2017.
It is an honour he openly shared with all his first team staff and his squad of players when he received the trophy at Hogwood Park, saying “It’s an honour to win the trophy but no manager can do it on their own. You need to have people around you to help you out, staff who have the knowledge and can pass it on to the team to help us get results.
“And if the players don’t perform, we don’t win a trophy like this! So I have to thank them as well because we get recognition thanks to their hard work, the performances they have been producing and the results we are picking up.”
2016 had ended with wins at Blackburn and at home to Norwich City on Boxing Day. But 2017 was to start in exhilarating fashion when the Royals came from two goals down to win at Ashton Gate.
It was a victory that epitomised the Jaap Stam philosophy – his side wore their hosts down by keeping the ball and capitalised on their weariness with three goals in the last 18 minutes of the match scored by Liam Kelly and Yann Kermorgant (two). The patience paid off perfectly and the travelling fans enjoyed their journey back down the M4.
An FA Cup trip to Old Trafford perhaps threatened to derail the Royals and when QPR edged to a slender victory at Madejski Stradium – only our second home defeat of the season – a few outside the club began to worry.
But the month’s achievement was typified by Reading’s resounding reaction to that defeat. There was no panic having lost one isolated league game, instead a high-octane performance in front of the home fans dispatched Fulham when a rearranged tie played out under the lights.
Nothing like a rebound from a penalty to reignite the league campaign…Roy Beerens was the hero as he hammered John Swift’s saved spotkick high into the Cottagers net for the only goal of the game.
It got better. Neil Warnock –a nominee for the same award this month - was in town once again, but he left with nothing after two pieces of magic from McCleary (backheeling for Swift to stroke home the opener) and Kermorgant (sweeping a superb free kick beyond the dive of Allan McGregor in the Bluebirds net).
And the month ended not only with a flurry of deadline day loan signings, but also with three more points courtesy of Swift’s second half finish at Birmingham City!
George Burley, who chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel, said "Reading managed four wins in January, two at home and two away. They showed great spirit getting three points away at Bristol City after being two goals down with 18 minutes left and going on to win 2–3. Jaap has imposed his passing philosophy onto the team and it is being very successful.”
"Jaap completely overhauled Reading’s style in the summer and the fruits of his labour are definitely paying dividends," added Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman. Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery commented, “In a month where all the top Championship teams seemed to struggle for consistency, it was Stam’s Reading who managed to create a mini-run of three wins at the end of the month, which helped to catapult the Royals into third place in the table."
Congratulations to Jaap, Andries, Steven, Said, Dave, Ed, Jon and all the first team staff and players for a month to remember. We’re all right behind you for the final three months of the season!