Not the prettiest of encounters, but three points at the end of the evening. Wycombe Wanderers brought the battle to the Royals at Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night, but another fantastic Lucas João goal and another resilient clean sheet earned the victory.
Captain Liam Moore will be credited with an assist thanks to a well-weighted forward ball for João, and just as importantly he helped to marshal a rear-guard which has now kept five clean sheets in the opening six games.
“It was a difficult game – we knew what they were going to be about, and credit to them,” said the skipper. “In the first half especially, they caused us problems. We struggled to break the press, we struggled to create chances.
“But today was about the spirit. The manager spoke about that at half-time. Good teams find a way, and we managed to do that today.
“We were patient as well. There was a bit of frustration at half-time, but we managed to calm the boys down and reminded them that there was a long time to go… 45, 50 minutes is a long time in football.
“So we wanted to be patient – we knew it might not be a pretty goal, and we might have to skip the lines as we did in the end, but we found a way and everyone is pleased tonight.
“It’s a pleasing goal. It’s one that you see from top teams as well. When teams want to frustrate us, let’s look in behind. When you’ve got physical presences like Lucas and Yakou, you need to look for that ball.
“I managed to hit a good ball – he brought it down brilliantly, and it’s a great finish.
“The Championship is relentless; you face all kinds of different challenges. They wanted to frustrate; they take their time over set pieces and goal-kicks, and for large periods they did do their job. But we found a way and it’s a pleasing result. It’s a different kind of result but it gets three points on the board.
“The result at Middlesbrough was good, if we backed it up against Wycombe. That was the most important thing.
“We stayed in the game. In the past we might have been guilty of throwing too many men forward and getting hit on the break or trying to force things. Today we stayed patient and got the result.”