Now that the dust has settled on a quite unexpected visit from West Ham to the Madejski last Saturday, Kelly Chambers has been giving her thoughts on the surprise score line and where the Royals are headed as the season begins to come to a close.
A barrage on the Reading goal in the first-half defined the game against West Ham, as the visiting side’s frenzied attack on the Royals resulted in a remarkable five goals in the first 45 minutes, a deficit that was far too great for Reading to recover from.
“We need to apologise to the fans for the first-half performance against West Ham,” Chambers said. “We know that it’s unacceptable.
“I don’t think that we came out with that fight and desire that I asked the team to come out with. West Ham pressed us a bit more aggressively than they normally do, but we kept playing right into their hands. I thought that we caused our own problems in the first-half. We didn’t show the adaptability that we have in the past against the likes of Man City and similar teams. That’s what cost us on Saturday; we just didn’t have that fight and desire.”
Analysing where the game got out of her side’s reach in the first-half, Chambers said, “We didn’t play well enough around the back to be able to play forward and find the gaps and holes that we knew would have been there. I don’t think that there were external factors that went wrong for us, because nine times out of ten we passed the ball to West Ham. We created our own problems, and as a result our back four struggled under the pressure.”
The result lifted West Ham from the bottom of the table and kept Reading rooted to 7th, four points behind Brighton in 6th and eleven behind Everton in 5th. With three league games remaining for Reading, Chambers spoke on the team’s motivation as the 2020-21 finish line looms into sight.
“People say that it is hard when you’re sitting in the middle of the table; you’re not fighting for anything at the top, you’re not fighting in the relegation battle, but we want to finish as high as we can. The girls know that; I’ve put that on them, I’ve said that’s what we should be striving for and that should be our motivation.”
Finally, with just one home win in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League this season since moving permanently to the Madejski Stadium, Chambers admits that it is a big change from Adams Park, where the side played all home matches prior to the 2020-21 campaign.
“The Madejski is home as far as being back in Reading, at the home of the club, but it is a new home for us. It’s a new home that we need to build, to make our own like we did when we were at Adams Park in Wycombe. It’s a 25,000-seater stadium, so it’s very different surroundings. There are no excuses though, we need to find our way, the Madejski is our home now and going forward. We have to build and make it difficult for teams to visit, just like we did with Adams Park.”
Reading FC Women are next in action as their FA Cup campaign begins, when Tottenham visit Madejski Stadium in the Fourth Round of the competition on Sunday 18th April.