REACTION: Paul Clement on defeat, what is going wrong, pressure and Bodvarsson’s absence

Paul Clement
Paul Clement did not hold back after the Ipswich draw
Tom Crocker gives his thoughts on the defeat to Sheffield Wednesday

“We’ve got to find a way to stop this.”

That was the honest assessment from Reading boss Paul Clement following another defeat at Madejski Stadium this afternoon.

Goals from Adam Reach and Lucas Joao put Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 ahead and while Liam Moore pulled one back, it proved to be in vain.

The loss leaves the Royals 23rd in the table with just two points from six games going into the international break.

Here is what he said to the media after the game.

On the defeat…

Very frustrating game, very frustrating start to the season. Another narrow margin of defeat in terms of the score-line, but over the six league games we are where we are because we haven’t been good enough. It’s as simple as that. We’ve got to find a way to stop this.

On what is going wrong…

The first thing is that I take responsibility. It’s normal that the manager does that. I have a lot of control of a lot of situations. The way we train, the way we prepare, the tactics, the team, the changes, what I say at half-time, what I say after the game etc etc so I have to take a lot of responsibility. I’ve asked the players to also do the same, be very honest in the reflection of themselves, whether they’re doing as well as they can. So that’s a start. I always reflect very honestly after games about the way the team has done and I feed back to them in that way. That process will continue. I think at times we are our own worst enemy. The first goal again is not a good situation, we could’ve dealt with that situation easily. And the second goal is even worse, particularly coming off the back end of a 15 minute break where players get the chance for a bit of rest and recovery, get some hydration on, listen to some points that we need to be better at, how we can get back into the game. 10 seconds and the ball is in the back of our net from a long ball, a knock-down and a finish. So then you’ve got a mountain to climb against a team that haven’t had a great away record but now they can smell it, an away victory. They were fighting for it, players behind the ball, taking the momentum out of the game. It was a proper away performance from them. They got their goals and dug in and defended.

On the game after it went to 2-1…

Liam Moore pulled one back for Reading

I felt after that goal, and this is normal, it’s part of human nature as a professional footballer and a team, what started to happen was we started doing things that were not right. It’s almost like panic mode. How can we get the ball forward, how can we get it into the box and with the changes that I made, even though the players that came off are not giants, certainly the ones that came on weren’t giants. So you’ve got to play in a certain way that suits the individuals that came on. I thought we ended up being a bit reckless and not playing to the strengths of the individuals on the pitch at the time, then you don’t really create anything really, really good. It’s frustrating.

On if he is confident he can turn things around…

Of course. I don’t have any doubt about my own abilities as a manager and as a coach. The dressing room is united. We’re not fighting amongst ourselves. If you start doing that you’ve got real problems. That’s not the case. We’re all very frustrated. I’m very frustrated for our fans. I think our fans have been very patient. I think they’re showing a lot of support for the team. They haven’t turned on the players. I think they see their players trying. Obviously there are mistakes, we’re going behind in games. At the same time it’s frustrating for them as well because they’re coming and they want to see their team doing well and they’ve not seen their team winning that much. And we’re also frustrated because it is demoralising when you’re putting so much effort in and you’re not getting the results that you want. Adversity can bring the worst out of people but it can also bring the best out of people. Difficult times, dig in, stick together and that’s what we’ll be doing.

On if he feels under pressure from the board…

No, not at all. Even if that was the case, that’s out of my control. My control is on the way I train the players, the teams I pick, the tactics that I work on and I have to remain very focussed on that.

On the start to the season overall…

We’ve had six games in the league, very disappointing start in terms of points. I think the performances have been mixed. There’s been some good stuff, there’s been some not so good stuff. We’re looking at trying to become more consistent. We’ve got 40 games to go. The start hasn’t been good, let’s not make sure it goes on into the next period. We’ve got to get this next bit right.

On if there is a hangover from last season…

We have spoken about that. Losing can become a habit, so can winning. You feel like when you enter the pitch there’s just no way you’re going to lose. You feel like you’re going to win every game. That’s the feeling we’ve got to bring back. We’ve got to bring it back through hard work, focus. There is no other answer. There’s not some magic potion we can sprinkle on this and it’s all going to start working. It’ll be through mental toughness, desire, work-rate, a lot of old-fashioned stuff that sometimes isn’t valued as much as it should be.

On conceding at the start of the second half four games in a row…

It’s very strange. Can I put my finger on it? It’s very difficult to answer that. I’d have to go back through all of them. I don’t think it’s because they’re coming out of the dressing room too pumped up, not pumped up enough or that the information is not there. The information is there. That was one long ball. We spoke a lot in the prep to this about the direct balls into Nuhiu and Joao and maybe you don’t win the first ball, but we actually did in that situation, but you’ve got to be there for the second one. And we weren’t there. That’s a detail. That’s not anything to do with what’s said at half-time.

If you’re losing games by fine margins, then you’re dealing in details. There’s an example of a detail that wasn’t carried out correctly. The goal against Bolton was a detail that’s not carried out correctly, the last minute winner against Derby is a detail that’s not getting carried out correctly. These are the things that we’ve got to put right. There’s not one big thing like we need to run more. It’s not that. The physical output of the team is up and in many cases better than the opposition. So it’s not a physical thing. In a lot of cases, it’s a technical and tactical positional reasons.

On Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s absence…

He was ill. He got ill and ended up a couple of days in hospital because he had a nasty problem with his stomach. He’s out of hospital now, resting at home. I’m not sure if he’s going to be right enough to go away with Iceland or not, we’ll see in the next 24 hours. But I don’t think it’ll be anything that will keep him out for the next Reading game.

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