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Stam sums up a fiery first leg at Fulham

13 May 2017

All eyes turn to Tuesday as Royals boss asks for fantastic fans' support!

"Of course, you want to win your games, but coming over here is not the easiest of games," Royals boss Jaap Stam reflected positively, after a Craven Cottage draw that takes us into Tuesday's second leg with absolutely all to play for.

"They've got a good team as well, otherwise they wouldn't have finished in the top six of the Championship, so it's good to get a draw.

"We started the game very well, very aggressively, not giving them time to play and we succeeded also in going forward and being a threat at times.

"Towards the end of the first half, they got a bit more time to play because we dropped deep too quick and we spoke about that at half-time.

"We also spoke about keeping those lines very close to each other and, when we win the ball, going forward down the sides. And it happened!

"Jordan Obita bombed forward, got that ball, and it was a great strike - he showed he has a great strike on him last week as well! And we went 1-0 up.

"Then it's a question of what you're going to do as a team - drop in and hold onto that 1-0 or are you going to play your own game and keep trying to go forward?

"Some players wanted to go forward, others went too deep too quick, and they get more possession as a result. And if you give them time and space, they can score goals which is exactly what they did."

A red card for Stam's skipper then threatened to hand the advantage to the hosts - something Fulham took full advantage of when we met them at the Cottage earlier in the season. But this time, Reading held firm!

"At 1-1, we get the red card. And we defended well after that, kept it tight, and we didn't give away many chances at all.

"The red card itself, I've seen it back now. He touched the player, but it wasn't deliberate. He wanted to go for the ball and Paul is a tough player, but he's fair. McDonald tapped that ball away from him and he was late in the tackle as a result.

"Macca has been very important for us this season, but he has been out with injury before and other players have stepped up and done a good job.

"Jordan twisted his ankle at the end too - he was stretching, trying to block a cross from Fredericks at the end, but there was no tension in the ankle and he twisted it as he landed. So we'll need to assess it now and see what the injury is.

"But as I say, we've got options - that's the good thing about having a big squad. Throughout the season we've had options to make changes."

Tuesday night is not one to miss! The travelling 2,000 were fantastic at we need Madejski Stadium roaring the Royals on to keep this season going a little bit longer.

"The fans were great, just as they were last weekend. And that's what we need again.

"We need their support and I've spoken about it many times. I'm happy with them and I think they're happy with us at the moment - so that's a good thing.

"Everybody is excited for Tuesday, but we won't get over-excited. We're playing with home advantage, but we're still playing against a very good side.

"They need to score, we need to score, so it's going to be a very interesting game between two sides battling against each other. Let's just wait and see what's going to happen.

"For now, we're happy with the draw. But there is a long way to go. And it's going to be a tough game."

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