PAUL CLEMENT says Reading’s draw against Sunderland was a missed opportunity to push clearer of the relegation zone.
The Royals led 1-0 through Liam Kelly’s penalty, only to fall 2-1 behind with Paddy McNair and Lee Cattermole netting in the second half.
But the hosts rallied and dug out a draw thanks to a late Yann Kermorgant header.
It could have been even better with Mo Barrow the main culprit for a glaring stoppage time miss in a crazy end-to-end final 10 minutes.
The draw keeps Reading in 19th, five points clear of the bottom three with just three games left to play, although 22nd-placed Barnsley do have a game in hand.
But Clement was not satisfied with his side’s performance.
Here is what he said the media straight after the draw.
On the end to the game…
It was an incredible finish. Anything could’ve happened at the end. When we got back to 2-2 I thought we really pushed to get the winner and we had two or three fantastic chances to then go and win it. Mo Barrow at the back post and Kermorgant with the wrong decision to try and chip the keeper and Barrow got in down the left and the pass across the area should’ve been a bit more accurate. But yeah, unbelievable finish to the game.
On if he is happy with the point…
It was important not to lose the game, absolutely with the way the other results went. It ends up being a good point but obviously disappointed that we didn’t get all three. I think it’s a missed opportunity. I don’t think we played very well. I think the fighting spirit was
there but we looked a little bit lethargic. Although we did find a little bit of energy I think that was more from the adrenaline of the occasion at the end. Good response having gone down in the game.
They obviously scored a fantastic first goal and then the set play gives them that momentum but we responded well, put another striker on, got some crosses into the box, good finish. He had another good headed opportunity, one he steered wide so we looked dangerous at the end. But when it’s so open like that you’re vulnerable going back the other way. It’s not a good game from a manager and coaches point of view. You want things more in control. I actually thought the way we controlled the game against Fulham was better. We’ve lost the game, yeah I know that but the shape of the team was better in that game.
On the response to going behind…
We had a big push and that was good. At that point we went for it, we didn’t just lay down and die, the players gave it everything to get back in it and to try and win it. I think it was a great game for the neutral, hard when you’re the coach to watch that.
On the performance…
I think there were some really positive things, there were some things that were horrible and I think we have to play smarter in the next three games. The more you play like that, the more its in the lap of the gods what will happen. That’s what we’ll be focussing on for the next games.
On the bottom of the table…
If you go from us down, I’d rather be in our position than the others but I said to the players, attention to Barnsley. They’ve got a game in hand. You can look at the fixtures and say Birmingham have got really tough games but they’re all difficult games.
The players like myself feel today was a bit of a missed opportunity in terms of taking all the points considering the last two home games we’d taken all the points but they’re motivated and focussed, they know what’s required and they know that this could go all the way to the death.