Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

McDermott attempts to rally Royals fans

Manager Brian McDermott believes Reading are capable of reviving their survival bid
Manager Brian McDermott believes Reading are capable of reviving their survival bid

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 was roundly booed midway through the second half after hauling off Noel Hunt and Hope Akpan for Nick Blackman and Garath McCleary. However, the 51-year-old said: "It's not about me it's about the club."

He went on: "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, but following a four-game losing run the Royals appear the most vulnerable of the bottom clubs with nine games remaining. Their fixture list is hardly friendly either with trips to Manchester United and Arsenal next up.

McDermott said. "Once March is out of the way - we play Manchester United away and Arsenal away - then we have seven games. 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. 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, but Villa 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."

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