McDermott attempts to rally fans

Brian McDermott assured Reading's fans he is doing all he can to ensure survival after the 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa.

Last Updated: 10/03/13 at 13:06 Post Comment   

Dejection for Reading against Aston Villa

Dejection for Reading against Aston Villa

Manager Brian McDermott has reassured Reading's fans he is doing everything he can to ensure survival after his side were jeered off for the second successive game at the Madejski Stadium.

The home supporters voiced their growing concern after the Royals crashed to a 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa which leaves them above last-placed QPR on goals scored only.

It was the second slip against a relegation rival in a fortnight after Wigan also left Berkshire with all the points in a 3-0 romp.

McDermott himself came under fire on Saturday when he was roundly booed midway through the second half after hauling off Noel Hunt and Hope Akpan for Nick Blackman and Garath McCleary.

The 51-year-old refused to criticise his detractors, however, when asked if he felt his own position was starting to be threatened by the growing disquiet.

"It's not about me it's about the club," he said. "I thought the fans were fantastic at the start of the game. The fans want to see their team win.

"We've had a lot of good days in the past three years. The past three weeks have been difficult. The fans just want to see the team win."

There has been little suggestion McDermott's place as coach is in jeopardy following a three-year reign that has been highlighted by last year's run to the npower Championship title.

But following a four-game losing run the Royals appear the most vulnerable of the bottom clubs to make an immediate return with nine games remaining.

Their fixture list is hardly friendly either with trips to Manchester United and Arsenal next up.

And while McDermott admitted his side were hurting after Saturday's defeat, when they had led through Nathan Baker's comical own goal, he refused to concede the stuffing had been knocked out of their survival bid.

"I don't feel that at all," he said. "Once March is out of the way - we play Manchester United away and Arsenal away - then we have seven games. We'll see where we are at the end of March and go from there.

"It won't be hard to pick ourselves up. You have a choice you either give up or you get back on and have a right go at it.

"That's what we've done. We'll pick ourselves up and move on quickly.

"It's not over until the middle of May."

The Royals missed a host of chances after half-time, with Hal Robson-Kanu the chief culprit, while Hunt had a goal ruled out 10 minutes after the break for a marginal offside call.

Villa, meanwhile, were far more clinical in their final third.

Christian Benteke equalised two minutes after Villa fell behind, netting his seventh goal in eight games, before Gabriel Agbonlahor thumped in the decisive goal in first-half injury-time.

The rally defied recent claims Villa have suffered a crisis of confidence as they hauled themselves three points clear of danger.

"They're not lacking in confidence. I've never sensed that," Lambert said.

"I don't know where that one has come from. Against Arsenal we played extremely well without getting a result and we gave Manchester City a right good game.

"There has been a lack of naivety at some points but I thought we deserved to win the game.

"Some of the football was excellent."

Agbonlahor typified Villa's attacking threat and deservedly won the match with his third goal in six games since returning from injury.

In an inexperienced Villa team the 26-year-old has been relied upon to provide the Premier League know-how and Lambert believes he is starting to deliver at the right time.

"Some of the performances he's turned in have been big, big performances," he said.

"His speed when Gabby gets a run on somebody there is not many that can catch him. It was good to see."


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