With a game to spare, the Royals are safe – confirmed for a position in the Sky Bet Championship for 2019-20.
Despite defeat in Middlesbrough, it won’t go down to the final day. Results elsewhere, and the fact that the Royals’ had accrued enough points on the board with some stellar performances in recent weeks, means that we can no longer drop below the dotted line. Manager José Gomes paid tribute to all of a Royal persuasion.
“Now is the moment to say how grateful I am feeling for the way that everybody in the club – the owner Mr Dai, the chief executive Nigel Howe, all of the directors and employees – how everybody has supported me since I arrived,” said José.
“And, again: amazing, incredible, fantastic support from our fans. It is a club achievement and we deserved it. We worked very hard, under big pressure – although I suppose this is life in the Championship!
“We suffered in some moments, but we always kept hope and confidence in our work. We really worked very, very hard to achieve this moment.
“We have one more game, which cannot change anything, but it is the final game in front of our fans and everybody wants to finish well and give our fans three more points.
“At the final whistle, when we knew we were safe, it was a very nice moment. This is a big club with great facilities and great fans. So we must give everything that we have to help the club to be the in position that it deserves.
“There are a lot of positive things from today. We had a lot of ball possession, we played with personality. We created enough chances to get a different result.
“But even with this unfair result today, this is a special moment for the club.”
45 games down, one to go. Nothing riding on it next Sunday against Birmingham City – just a chance to enjoy the afternoon, create a carnival atmosphere inside Madejski Stadium and look forward to getting going again in 2019-20, after a hard-earned break.
“Our fans deserve to have a celebration on the final day,” continued Gomes. “I said many times this season – they have been patient, they believe and support the players.
“They support this club, and in a lot of games they have helped the players to be better and to get the points that we needed. So next Sunday will be a special moment, for sure.”
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