“We analysed their team and how they play, and we know they have physicality and sometimes want to play football and sometimes quite direct,” manager Jaap Stam said after the Royals were defeated 2-1 at Middlesbrough – two opportunistic Adama Traore goals won it for Boro, while Chris Martin’s first Reading goal counted for little.
“We dealt with their long throws quite well and they didn’t create a lot of opportunities in possession in the first half.
“But there were a couple of situations in the build-up to the first goal where we should have done better in blocking the ball or tackling – then we can’t double up on Traore and he gets that shot on target. We could have avoided that one.
“We spoke at half-time about how we could use the space better which we were getting… you want to do that, but then we gave another goal away with a loose pass! It makes it very difficult for yourself to get back into the game.
“It’s not the first time I’ve said that. That’s quite frustrating, how we’re conceding goals. It makes it very hard to get back into the game. They can drop in and they’re looking for the moment on the break when they win that ball.
“The opportunities that the opposition were getting were coming from our mistakes. That’s a thing that I don’t like. But it happens at times. That makes it difficult to get back into the game and to get the points you need.
“We got that goal and you’re hoping to push for the second one. It looked promising; they came out occasionally but couldn’t do a lot.
“This season, we’ve played many games where it looks promising, but we concede the goals too easily.”