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"Finals are there to be won!" | Key points from Jaap’s press call

Royals boss Jaap Stam speaks for one final time before a massive end of season finale at Wembley...

26 May 2017

A Hogwood heatwave greeted members of the media on Thursday afternoon and a packed press conference room listened to every word that tripped off the tongue of Royals boss Jaap Stam...

Jaap Stam on nerves...
"We're not nervous. Not yet. Maybe on the Monday there will be some nerves, but we've just been doing our preparation as we normally do. Preparing as well as we can. 

"We are confident, we've shown that in other games we've played against good teams this season. We're going to be facing another good team in Huddersfield on Monday but, if you end up in the top six, there are only good teams left to face. 

"So we're going to give it our best shot, work very hard, believe in ourselves, and hopefully we can get a good result. 

"We know what the prize is. But we're not there yet. It could be nothing. We need to think about now and what we need to do to win that game. 

"We're not going to be thinking about what promotion could do to the club or the town, because there is always a chance you lose in the Final. So we need to prepare ourselves, make sure we get a result, and after the game we can think about what the result does for the club." 

...on Reading's play-off record...
"There's always got to be a first time. I didn't know the record until you mentioned it, and I'm not really interested in what happened in the past. I'm interested in what happens now. 

"Where we are and what we need to do to get a result. Hopefully we can get a result and change that record. 

"I love working with this team and these players. It would be great if we can make it to the Premier League. If not, we're still in the Championship, we have a great team and I'm working for a nice club." 

...on our meetings with Huddersfield this season...
"One we won at home, one we lost over there, both as you said very close. Both teams like to play in a similar way, both have quality players to call upon. 

"It's going to be an interesting game again, to see how they set up their team and what we're going to be doing to create chances and hopefully score goals ourselves without giving anything away. 

"We're going to take risks, but defend well as well. We're not going to change everything that has worked for us this season. But it's going to be another tight game I think. 

"Fulham were the favourites in the semi-final according to everyone, but we did well against them and we're in the Final. Now this is a totally new, totally different game, against another very good team. 

"So we start from scratch again, start from zero, knowing we need to work very hard to get a result." 

...on whether he has been surprised by a third-placed finish...
"Sometimes I have been, pleasantly surprised. When you start a job, you think you know the qualities of the players you have, but if you work with them and you take them out of their comfort zone, you see there is a lot more in them than I first saw from video clips before I started. 

"So I've been pleasantly surprised in what they have been able to do, how they have improved throughout the season and how they can play a totally different style of play." 

...on what promotion would mean...
"For the players it's a very great achievement, because everyone wants to play at the highest level. Over here, everyone is watching the Premier League and everyone wants to play on that stage, show themselves to the world even more. 

"For the club it's great in the Premier League because of the money involved, if you use it wisely! And for the staff, everyone around the club, it's great to work for a club who plays in the Premier League. 

"The attraction of playing in the Premier League is getting bigger and bigger for supporters too - there would be more fans in the stadium of course. 

"But it's a long way away. 95 minutes can be a very long way! So our focus is what we need to do to get there." 

...on whether he is asking his players to embrace the occasion or zone it out...
"When you play finals, everybody always says you need to do the same things as you have done all season in the league. But that's easier said than done. 

"Everybody knows the stakes, what you can achieve, and what feeling you can have if you lose - I've been there myself as well! But we try to prepare our team as normal as we always do. 

"They just need to believe in themselves, have confidence in what they can do. It's a special occasion, so you can think about that, but as soon as the game starts you need to play your own game." 

...on his message to the fans...
"We're enjoying that we're at Wembley, we're going to enjoy playing in front of a lot of people, fans who have come from all over the world I hear. All supporting us. 

"Everybody is already very happy that we're in the Final, but finals are there to be won! If you play in the final, you need to give it your best shot, your everything, to make sure you get a result."

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