Before heading out to Austria on Sunday morning, the Royals had a tough pre-season outing against Fulham in Aldershot on a hot Saturday afternoon – and commendable work by the side led to a 0-0 draw against the newly-promoted Premier League side.
Manager Paul Clement was pleased with the overall performance – a game which saw Reading limit the Cottagers’ chances, and create some gilt-edged opportunities of their own.
“I thought it was a good game, and a good test for us defensively,” Clement said. “I told the players at the end that I thought today we have begun to see the fruits of our labour on the training ground.
“It was difficult to see that in the first two games, as there was a lot of fatigue. But this week in training there hasn’t been so much volume, but the intensity is there still. They looked fresher, and a lot of players played 60 or 75 minutes so that’s a step up.
“Overall, I was pleased. And on reflection, Fulham are a team that rely heavily on possession to build chances, and they did have more of the ball than us. But if I look back at match-winning chances, we edged it.
“We are building towards the start of the season. Not just Derby – we’ve got Forest, Blackburn, Birmingham… we’re building for the start. If we lose any game, like we did against Eastleigh and AFC Wimbledon, we’re disappointed. We approach every game to try and win, like we did today. But most important is that we’re ready for the start of the season.
“Pre-season performances and results, we want to go in an upward direction. It’s no good winning all of your pre-season games, and then when the season starts, you don’t.
“After this game, I’m pleased with the position we’re in. We have a really good week to look forward to now. We’re off to Austria on Sunday, and then we face Besiktas on Tuesday and Rubin Kazan on Friday. They are two high-level opponents, there is lots of opportunity to train, and we can get into an environment where we work on team bonding.”