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“I am so proud of what these players have done”

Manager on a cruel end to an incredible campaign

29 May 2017

With play-off final defeat still raw, after the Royals were defeated on spot-kicks against Huddersfield, Royals manager Jaap Stam faced a press conference.

Here’s a round-up of what he had to say.
Jaap on… defeat in the cruellest manner
It is always hard when you lose. What we have achieved this season is great. We have made great progress this season, getting into the top six and reaching the final. When you get to the final, you want to do all you can to win it.
I think the boys have been working hard all season. They’ve given everything in every game to reach this final. You have to take risks to win games but you can also understand that both teams didn’t want to because of what was on the game.
It was very hard because of the totally different occasion. We worked our way through it, worked hard, got to the penalty shootout and from then it is a lottery. You can’t create that kind of atmosphere and tension in training.
The important thing for me was that the players took responsibility. They knew what they needed to do, they knew there was possibility that they could miss - that happens in football - and unfortunately Huddersfield won.
Congratulations to Huddersfield, I wish them good luck for next season and now we need to go again next season.
Jaap on… this season’s achievements
If you want to go up, you need to win the league. If you look at the players we have, I think they have done very well to finish third in the league and then to reach this final. This is a league with a lot of very strong teams. 
The players have done so well, I am proud of what these players have done this season. It is a long season and you want players that want to get the maximum out of their careers.
Jaap on… switching focus to the new season
We did it last summer – we lifted them; improved them.  I want to work with players who are very eager to get results. Even if we had won promotion to the Premier League, we would still need to do that.
Jaap on… dealing with this defeat
It’s hard to lose this game. It’s not so hard for myself. I feel bad for the players. I am a small part of this club and it is the players that need to do it – to give us success. I know what they have put in to get here and how eager they were to get to the Premier League. I feel bad for them. As a sportsman, of course, you want to win but the way the players put everything into the season, I feel bad for them.
It needs to strengthen you. At the moment, it is difficult but you need to take this experience into the next occasion. The good players do that.

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