McDermott: Don't write us off

Reading manager Brian McDermott warned the rest of the Barclays Premier League not to write off the Royals.

Last Updated: 13/01/13 at 13:22 Post Comment   

Brian McDermott: Not looking to get 'knocked out'

Brian McDermott: Not looking to get 'knocked out'

Reading manager Brian McDermott warned the rest of the Barclays Premier League not to write off the Royals after their dramatic comeback victory over West Brom.

The Baggies had been in cruise control after Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku had put them 2-0 up. It could have been more but he hit the woodwork twice.

Reading appeared down and out. They had been distinctly second best and a return to the bottom of the table, after QPR's draw with Tottenham earlier in the day, seemed inevitable.

But Reading conjured a remarkable finish to the game, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with three goals in the last nine minutes from Jimmy Kebe, Adam Le Fondre and Pavel Pogrebnyak.

The result leaves Reading three points off safety and McDermott believes the teams directly above them - including next weekend's opponents Newcastle - will be nervously looking over their shoulders.

"I think so. We are one game, or three points, from the team above us," McDermott said. "People automatically wrote QPR and Reading off. We have been written off for ages, since we won promotion.

"It is nothing new to me. Since I got the job we have always been written off.

"But we got that first goal and you saw a side that showed real belief and character. That is a game that will go down in lot of peoples' memories."

After a run of seven successive defeats, Reading have pieced together two wins and a draw from their last four games in the league.

And it has come about with a change of approach from McDermott.

"I have learned a lot about this division in the last four months," he said. "It is an incredible division. Sometimes you can't be gung-ho, you can't go for it like a boxer because you will get knocked out.

"That is what happened to us early on in the season.

"You set the team up the best way you possibly can, you stay in the game and if you can win it late on, you win it late on.

"You have to (contain teams). It's a case of staying in the game. We can't give away goals in the first half."

Reading did not deliberately employ rope-a-dope tactics against West Brom - but they certainly left the Baggies and their manager Steve Clarke shellshocked.

"Credit to Reading, they got the win, but I think even they would admit it was undeserved. It was a travesty really," Clarke said.

"We had good control and I certainly couldn't see the finish to the game that happened.

"We should have scored four or five but then we lost a goal and for some reason we lost our shape and we lost our composure and conceded the two late goals that cost us the game.

"When you contrive to pull a defeat from what should be a comfortable victory then it is something we will have to look at.

"Football can be a strange game and this was one of those days.

"We will have to analyse it and make sure it doesn't happen again. Hopefully it won't."

Lukaku and James Morrison formed an effective partnership up front for West Brom and the Belgian has now scored six of the Baggies' last 10 Premier League goals.

While Lukaku's loan deal from Chelsea has been confirmed until the end of the season, Clarke reiterated that none of his players are up for sale.

The Scotsman indicated a frustration that QPR manager Harry Redknapp had publicly confirmed his interest in West Brom's forward Peter Odemwingie.

"It would be nice if other clubs accepted the fact (that none of our players are for sale)," Clarke said. "They are entitled to make enquiries and put bids in so long as they do it in the right manner, they don't do it through the press but in the correct way.

"We have no grievance with that and its easy for us then to say: 'No.'

"We don't want to sell anybody and any enquiries or bids will be met with the same answer: 'No'."


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