When things aren’t going your way, continuing to put in the hard yards is of course important. But equally, it’s just as crucial to keep fostering a positive team spirit and camaraderie, says Liam Moore – that’s what has been happening this week.
After a couple of days’ worth of reflection on the Millwall defeat, the boys have returned to Hogwood with a renewed desire to pick up points as quickly as possible – but also to try and play with a smile on their face and to express themselves out on the pitch.
“Preparation has been good – we were very down after the match on Saturday and I think the gaffer noticed that,” Moore said. “The players noticed it too of course; it was a difficult one to take.
“But it was important that we got spirits high in training. That includes hard work, but also a lot of enjoyment to try and pick morale back up. The manager and coaching staff have managed that very well in the last few days.
“I had the chat with the gaffer when we came back in on Tuesday, and I said that it was probably the best thing for the lads – we needed a couple of days.
“We’re hurting more than anyone – we’re going out there and not performing the best or getting the results we want, but it really helped to have a couple of days to reassess and get spirits back high and be ready for this tough run-in that we’ve got.”
Tony Pulis’s Middlesbrough sit in the top half of the table, threatening to break into the play-off places.
Moore knows that they have quality and physicality… and that the Royals will need to match them in both departments to get the points at the Riverside.
“Boro will mix it up – they’ve got good quality and they can play, but they’ve also got some big lads and runners up front so they can go direct if they need to,” he continued.
“I’d say they’re a very established Championship team and they know how to win a game, whichever route they decide to go. We need to be prepared for that and be better than them on the day.”