Gunter talks through prep for the finalPassionate, committed, full-blooded… qualities that the Royals have in spades.
But that’s not the only thing that has earned us a right to face Huddersfield for a place in the Premier League. Defender Chris Gunter knows from experience that a solid game-plan in putting it into practice has been the key to success all season – that’s no different, even on this grand occasion.
“We’ve had some big games towards the back end of the season, including the two games we’ve just played against Fulham – and we dealt well with it,” Gunter said. “That’s because from the very first moment in the games, we stuck to what we had worked on.
“We always prepare in the same way – you can’t just win against good teams simply by wanting to win. You have to have a plan and you have to carry that out. That’s doing your own job and helping your teammate alongside you to do his.
“In the back end of last week we were just getting the body moving a bit… but as soon as we came back in over the weekend it was all geared towards the game. We’ll start to do shape and patterns and we’ll start to talk about the opposition, like we have all season.”
The Welshman, who skippered the team to victory in the semi-final, is enjoying putting those plans together during an extended spell without a match; almost two weeks will have passed between the semi-final finishing and the final kicking off.
He continued: “It’s a strange situation; normally you have two days’ recovery and preparation… sometimes four, or sometimes a full week. This time, we’ve had a large block to fill!
“It’s slightly different, but it’s enjoyable. It gives us more time on the training pitch and everything is geared up to a big game next Monday.
“The main thing when you play a big game is to try and forget the prize at the end of it, and everything that comes with winning or losing, and focus on the performance. If we do that through the week on the training pitch and when we arrive on the matchday, and if we perform like we can, we give ourselves the best chance.
“You’ve got two teams that want to win as much as each other. On the day, it’ll be the team that plays best that will win. So if we focus on our performance, hopefully it will be enough.”