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Bakkati says Royals have to start 'at a different level'

First team coach on hopes for the new season, family and our pre-season tour

21 July 2017

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First team coach Said Bakkati has spoken of his love of England, the season ahead and the positive impact of our time in Holland.

We're approaching the end of our Holland tour, with friendlies to come against Sparta Rotterdam and Cercle Brugge on Saturday to round the trip off.

Bakkati believes the squad will return to RG2 in better shape and ready to tackle the upcoming Championship campaign.

"The way how we want to play, the players have to learn it and it needs time. That's why you have pre-season, to develop the guys," he said.

"Last season, we showed them how we want to play and they showed us they can play that game. Now they have to start in a different level again, a little bit higher than last season.

"We have to be sharp and stay sharp because other teams are going to look to us a different way now, because of how we want to play and what we showed last season.

"Of course it's going to be a difficult time for us, but I'm not afraid of that."

The Royals' Holland trip has taken in intense training sessions, two new signings in Vito Mannone and Jón Daði Böðvarsson and some friendly matches along the way.

The squad return on Saturday night to continue their pre-season preparations.

Bakkati says he and his family feel settled in England after 12 months as a part of the Royals' coaching staff.

"In the club, we know the people now and they're open, they helped when I came in here. We are honest with each other, if you think something you can say it.

"From the kit man to the cleaner, to the director, we're all family.

"The kids are fine, my wife also. The kids go to school, they know the language better and they find their way now. They have friends here, they're happy and they love England.

"We came on vacation to Holland for a couple of days and they were saying 'when can we go back to England?' Same with me!"

Kick-off in our first friendly on Saturday against Sparta Rotterdam is 10am UK time, with our match against Cercle Brugge coming up straight afterwards at midday.

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