“I’ve got the utmost respect for them”Royals gaffer Jaap Stam knows first-hand how much effort has gone into mounting a play-off push – and so he can fully respect the achievements of Saturday’s visitors Leeds so far this season.
Reading could go back above the Whites with a win in the 5.30pm kick-off this weekend; Jaap is hoping that they can avenge a defeat at Elland Road earlier in the campaign.
“We played well over there, but it’s all about results and scoring goals,” said Jaap. “They did it, we didn’t, so they did it well and got the three points. We need to make sure on Saturday that that doesn’t happen again.
“They are a physical side and the work ethic within the team is very high, but they’ve got a lot of quality too. I’ve got the utmost respect for them and what they’ve been doing all season, the manager has done a great job. They get results and they are very hard to beat and as a result they are doing very well in the league.
“They play well, defend well, and work well together. As a team they have certain qualities that make it difficult for the opposition. Those aren’t surprises within their squad or how they play – we’ve seen their games.
“It’s always interesting to see how they’ll play against us towards the end of the season. Certain teams decide to do things differently because a lot is at stake. But we’ll be preparing as best we can to try and get a result.”
Each team comes into the game on the back of a positive result before the international break – we took three points from our trip to Leeds’ Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday, while the visitors defeated Brighton & Hove Albion.
Both teams would welcome a result, with games running out towards the end of the season – but Stam also knows that nothing will be decided this weekend.
“It’s another big game – Leeds want to go up of course, and we’re up there as well,” he continued. “We want to get a result against them, but it’s not only this particular game. We have seven important games after that as well in doing well and staying up there.
“So we need to be realistic in what we can do and what we need to do, and we are. But we go from game to game as well.”