JAAP STAM says playing twice in three days played a key role in Reading’s struggles to break down already relegated Rotherham United.
Royals beat Aston Villa just 48 hours ago but went in at the break 1-0 behind to a Tom Adeyemi strike, but second half goals from Lewis Grabban and John Swift turned the tie on its head as the hosts won 2-1.
And Stam was also keen to express his disappointment at a section of the crowd booing his side off at half-time.
On the victory…
Every game that we play over here is difficult. It’s not easy to win. The thing that doesn’t help is when you play two games in three days and that was us and Villa. That doesn’t make it easier. A lot of people say if you look on paper you play Rotherham and they are relegated, but it’s not easy because they’ve got nothing to lose. Their players are willing to work extremely hard to try and get a new contract or a transfer.
They started quite aggressive and we didn’t. It looked like we needed to wake up a bit in the beginning of the game but then they scored and when you go 1-0 down, the opposition drop in 4-1-4-1 in their own half which doesn’t make it easier to win that game.
It take a lot of mentality from the players to keep it going, keep your patience and get that equaliser eventually and that winner.
On changes at half-time…
We made that substitution with Liam Kelly on for Yakou Meite. We spoke about what we needed to do because we didn’t keep ourselves to the agreement that we spoke about before the game. In the second half we did it a lot better. Eventually you see spaces are opening up, the opposition is dropping in even more, you keep on pressing and you get opportunities. Eventually you score that equaliser and then you go for that second one and I think that was a great goal in how we want to play and what we’ve trained, keeping the ball, waiting for the runs at the right moment, pass the ball through and then somebody needs to have their position in front of the goal, which Swifty did. At the end of the day, it’s a very good result. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but it’s a very important win.
On Lewis Grabban…
He’s got that confidence and the technique in keeping the ball, his movement, his passing and his finishing. He played a great game against Villa two days ago and when he came on he was very important again. If you come on as a sub you want to make a difference and that’s what Liam Kelly and Lewis Grabban did.
On having to play two games in three days…
I would like for somebody to explain why we had to play on the Saturday and the Monday. We’ve tried since the beginning of the season everything to change that game (against Villa). Wigan played on Thursday, so why couldn’t we play on Thursday? You need to deal with it but
I think two games in three days is a lot. Normally a second day after a game you feel more tired than one day after. Today was that day basically so it’s a big compliment to the team that mentally they were very strong.
On boos from the fans at half-time…
I want to say something about that. I can understand in a way that you are not happy if the team goes behind, but we need our fans also when we are behind, maybe even more when we are behind. If you play at home, everybody needs to realise that there is no easy game, even when you play Rotherham. They need to know that they need to support the team and not boo them when they come off the pitch at 1-0 behind.
I think in the last two seasons where the club was and this season what the team has done, they should appreciate what the players are doing for them. If you are reacting like this, I am not very happy with that. The fans need to stick to their team, help them out and not only when you’re in front, also when you’re behind. Especially when you’ve played two games in three days, you need to have that extra man behind you who is pushing you forward.