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"Unacceptable first half balanced by spirit and energy of second half"

Royals boss Paul Clement was baffled by his side's 'rabbit in the headlights' first half display but buoyed by a reaction that earned his team a valuable point...

10 November 2018

"We were bad in the first half – really bad." There was no dressing up a first half performance that was 'unacceptable' according to Royals boss Paul Clement.

"I thought what we saw was one team that knew they were in a relegation fight, giving it absolutely everything, and one which was like a rabbit in the headlights and not knowing what to do.

"Our defence didn't give us any sort of solidity in the first half and the second goal we conceded was so poor. We were fortunate to get to the half with the score at 2-1.

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"It's hard to explain that first half performance - it wasn’t through a lack of preparation or not letting the players know what type of game to expect.

"There were so many errors that I didn't recognise the players we've been working with all week. I could have made five or six substitutions at half time if the rules had allowed it.

"In the second half, it was a totally different team. We played with spirit, we played with energy. They listened to my words at half-time and reacted well. We deserved to get back in the game and we created enough good chances at the end to maybe have gone on to win it.

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"But based on what I saw, it’s a missed opportunity.  We should have done better, but a point is probably a fair result."

"For some reason, we’re finding it difficult to find any level of consistency over 90 minutes. We’ve not done it that often and in back-to-back games we haven’t been able to do it.

"We put in a 45-minute performance today. Giving that kind of effort, spirit and desire to win is the foundation of going on to put in a performance.

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"As soon as we started to compete, we then played better football.  It wasn’t perfect, but we started to create chances.

"There’s a couple of weeks until we play again and we’re going into a difficult run of games. This point gets us out of the relegation zone, so it looks better than it did going into this game. Now we move on to the next set of games."

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