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Stam lauds team spirit despite Derby defeat

21 January 2017

Royals boss reflects on risk-taking and how we deserved more from the iPro encounter

A topsy-turvy affair at the iPro Stadium could easily have gone either way this afternoon, but Derby held on to victory despite the Royals' dominance before and after half-time.

"We deserved more today," the manager began in his post-match analysis. "We played very well in the first half an hour and Derby were having a lot of difficulties with the way we played.

"And we deserved the first goal, a very good goal. They got the equaliser before half-time - although it was maybe a handball - and after that they tried to press us higher up the pitch, not that they succeeded in getting a lot of chances in front of goal. But we stopped playing a bit.

"So we spoke about it at half-time and the second half we dominated again! But, in the way we want to play, we ask the players to take risks. And we took a little too much risk or maybe the ball we played out from the back wasn't good enough and - if we lose it there - it's painful.

"That's what happened and, if you look at the first two goals, we gave them away too easily - the opposition didn't have to do anything to score those two goals and they got three points too easily off the back of them.

"The second goal is not because they did something well, it's because we didn't do something well - we took too much risk in the build up.

"As we look for the equaliser, spaces are opening up and they are dangerous on the break, they counter attack and it bounces to someone's feet in the box and they finish it off."

But event at 3-1 it wasn't finished. "The spirit of the team we have is very good. Even at 3-1 down, we still want to go for those two goals and get at least a point," Stam continued.

"Sometimes at 3-1 the game is done, but the spirit within the team is good. And you can see that spirit. We kept pushing, kept going forward - of course it's not easy to create chances because they are defending with every man in front of their own box. But still we got the second one and we nearly got the third.

"But they defended well towards the end, they worked very hard and they had a couple of strong fellas at the back who can head the ball. So we deserved more, but in football you sometimes don't get what you deserve.

"If you give away two easy goals, it's not easy to win games. It's all about scoring one goal more than the opposition. And you don't want to lose games, nobody is happy losing games!

"And a lot of people will start talking about the couple of games we lost, but that's football. We won a lot of games in the first half of the season...and sometimes you lose a couple as well.

"Today we didn't succeed, didn't get what we deserved. But we look to Tuesday with the confidence that we played well. We're mentally strong and now we need to show that mentality to start winning games again."

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