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Stam | No nerves necessary in 'nothing to lose' tie

4 January 2017

Royals boss ready to enjoy Old Trafford return

As an Emirates FA Cup tie against the might of Manchester United nears closer, all the talk will turn to former United legend Jaap Stam making his return to Old Trafford in a competitive fixture as Royals boss. But Jaap is adamant that this game will be about his players and the club and what we can do in front of a global television audience and a huge crowd on Saturday.

"We've got nothing to lose when we play there. We don't want to give the tie up - we will work very hard and we are going to fight for it. That's what we did on Monday in Bristol, that's what we aim to do in every game!

"And there is no need for the players to get nervous because of the crowd or the game - they need to enjoy it. Obviously, you enjoy it much more if you get a result...but this is an opportunity for the players, the team, the club to show themselves to the world in what we are trying to do here.

"The stadium is a bit bigger, the players we're up against have different names on their shirts...but trust yourself, believe in yourself, believe in the team and what we can do, work hard together and I'm confident we can make it hard for them."

Barring the occasional charity match he has featured in, it is more than 15 years since Stam's last old Trafford appearance in a United shirt - but he is expected to receive a good reception from the home fans who still sing his song.

"Of course we're looking forward to it. It's a great draw, not only for me, but also for the players. To play at Old Trafford in front of 80,000 people, against quality players in the FA Cup - a competitiion everyone wants to do well in, a trophy everybody wants to win, it's going to be nice.

"It'll be good to be back in Manchester. I still love the club, I love the fans, I had a great time over there and it's going to be good to be going back in this way, as Reading manager for this cup tie.

"We're facing a great team, a great manager - I like how he works and what he does for his team, how we gets things going...and the career that he has made, the trophies that he has won - I admire that.

"So it's not going to be easy. But we'll give it our best shot. And we'll see. We're not saying we don't have a chance. Everybody has a chance. But it's important that we prepare well for the game and hopefully we can do well and enjoy it.

"It's not about me. It's about Reading facing United at Old Trafford. It's about our team hopefully doing well at United - so, although they will, people don't need to write things about me, they should write about the team and what we can do against a big club like United."

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