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Changes that made a difference...

Three players earned their first league start in Royals colours on Saturday and freshening up the eleven earned Paul Clement's men three points!

24 September 2018

Royals boss Paul Clement shuffled his pack a little on Saturday, handing league debuts in Royals colours to John O'Shea, Saeid Ezatolahi and Josh Sims. And it worked.

"We were so disappointed with the first half on Wednesday night against Norwich, so we freshened things up and made a few changes at the weekend," Assistant Manager Nigel Gibbs said.

"And they all performed very well, getting us a deserved victory at home.
It's been a busy period, but the intent was there to really go after Hull from the start.

"Not it's up to those players who performed well to keep consistently performing well and keep the shirt."

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Making his first appearance for the Royals was Iran international Saeid Ezatolahi who started in midifeld. 

"Saeid has settled in really well. You can see that he’s a really good player and that he’s got a presence about him. He's played in a World Cup and he can read the game really well, he won some good headers, his awareness and he can find a pass. And he had that calmness on the ball. 

"He's not trained much with us so he's still getting his fitness up and he got a little bit tired in the second half. But it was a big ask for him to step in on Saturday, and he did really well. We’re really pleased with him and he played his part in a good victory."

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Josh Sims was handed his first start of the campaign too. And nearly 19 years after making his professional debut for Manchester United at Aston Villa, John O'Shea earned his first league start for the Royals at the weekend.

"Sims came in and started for the first time and did really well," Gibbs reflected. "He carries the ball really well."

"And John O'Shea was excellent. He commanded the back four really, really well, gave us that stability at the back.


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"He's a brave boy too. He had a cut in his mouth and they were saying they couldn't stop the bleeding so we were worried he was going to have to come off. But there was no way John was coming off!

"We need to fight for evertything - no-one gives you anything in this league. So he epitomised that at the weekend.

"He won nearly every header and I think he helped the players alongside him as well. Our first clean sheet in the league and we've been working really hard to get that. It's so important, giving us the confidence to go on now.

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"Obviously we're going to miss him at Brentford through suspension. But hopefully someone can step into his place and perform as well as he did on Saturday.

"Hopefully Paul McShane will be back in training very soon, obviously Tiago can step into there as we did at the end on Saturday. So there are options there for us. But it's disappoitning for John, because he's waited for his opportunity, come in and done really well, but unfortunately now we lose him. That's football."

A high-flying Brentford await the Royals now. 

"Now we can look forward to really good week's training and then a really tough game away from home.

"But our away form has not been too bad so far, so we need to follow that up."

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