The only goal of the game on Teesside was a fortuitous one in Middlesbrough’s favour. It was a game where Reading dominated possession and chances, restricted their opposition forwards to scraps. But thanks to a Marvin Johnson free-kick which crept in from a tight angle, and some stunning saves by Boro stopper Darren Randolph, the Royals had nothing to show for it.
On the balance of play, manager José Gomes was understandably frustrated at not getting three points from the game, let alone one. There were reasons to feel positive about putting in the kind of performance which, more often than not, would give a better return.
“Even if we had drawn this game, I wouldn’t have felt happy with just one point after the way that we played,” said Gomes. “The football that we showed today, the number of goalscoring situations that we created, being defensively very strong and not conceding clear situations.
“So I wouldn’t have felt happy with even just one point. We are frustrated at the way we lost these three points.
“But this is football. In the moments when you create chances, you must be clinical. You must kill the game and turn this football into goals. We didn’t do that. This is football.
“We must keep for the future the fantastic spirit and the way that my players fought today. In the future, I am sure that it will be very difficult to beat us. We were brave defensively, and offensively we created enough incidents to win this game.
“Nobody – not the players, fans, directors – nobody wants more than me to win the games. I work daily with these players, I know how they are and I know what is best for the team.
“If we started the game again, I would repeat exactly the same line-up. They showed me today that they could win the game. They didn’t, but this is football. After the game happens, it is very easy to talk. In my opinion we created enough situations to win this game.”
There was a flashpoint in the latter stages of the first half which incensed Gomes, his players and his backroom staff. A stationary Yakou Méïté was clattered by the forearm of an onrushing Adam Clayton in challenging for an aerial ball – incredibly, the referee didn’t even whistle for a free-kick, let alone dip into his pocket.
“I can comment on this individual situation as an exception, because I don’t like to talk about the referee,” Gomes said. “The referee is the only person on the pitch who can protect the players, protect the game. Their player should have had a red card – no doubt about it.
“And it wasn’t even given as a foul – it is strange what happened. I spoke to the referee and he said it wasn’t a free-kick. He has the power.
“But I don’t want you to think that I am using this an excuse for the result. That’s not what this is. The reason we lost is because in the right moments, when we created chances, we didn’t score. And after, these things can happen – a free-kick, a corner, a strange goal like we saw today.”
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