Reading FC manager Paul Ince feels that the club’s 1-0 defeat to West Brom “could have gone either way.”
A late Karlan Grant strike was enough for the Baggies to walk away with all three points in the final home match of the 2021/22 Championship season.
More than 15,000 were in attendance and many stayed behind for the annual ‘Lap of Appreciation’ despite defeat.
Speaking after the loss, interim-manager Ince said: “It had that feeling to it [end of season] which is never a nice feeling when its your last game at home with a fantastic crowd. They came to show their support and when they do that you want to get a result for them. Subconsciously when you look at two teams who are safe it can pan out that way, a nice day for it, everyone wanted to enjoy it but disappointed for the fans as you want to send them home. I said to the players we needed to treat it like we still needed to stay up.
“I thought we played well; it was a mistake that gave them the three points. If you analyse the game we had some good chances in the first half, had a few shots that were blocked, and it was a mistake that cost us the three points, I can live with that. Drinks has been brilliant for me, showing what a top player, he is. He is in there gutted and if he’d done that three weeks ago it might be different, but he’s been brilliant, he’s a leader, he sets an example, and the lads love him so I’m not too concerned.
“It was a game that could’ve gone either way. This team were in the Premier League last year so they’re a good team with good players, I’m not going to say the players felt it was an end of season game because they wanted to win the game, especially after losing to Hull. The objective was to keep the team in the league and that’s what we’ve done. Now we need to look at areas to move the club forward.
“We were sloppy in the final third so there is a lot to work on but we’ll go to Luton relaxed and try to win the football match.”
The Royals have one match left, against Luton Town next Saturday.