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Lack of goals is Reading’s concern ahead of Norwich City clash

PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 September 2017

Reading boss Jaap Stam has been under fire from some supporters after a disappointing start to the season. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Reading boss Jaap Stam has been under fire from some supporters after a disappointing start to the season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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QAfter the near-high of last season, are Reading suffering a play-off final defeat hangover?



AAfter a record fourth play-off final failure, both the manager and players are certainly performing as if still under the influence! The fans on the other hand don’t talk about it anymore as they have play-off final defeat inscribed in their DNA.

QWhere’s it going wrong?

AWe play possession football and we’re getting better at it, but we don’t play with a recognised striker and find scoring goals difficult. The clue as to where it’s going wrong is in there somewhere!

QHow are the fans treating Jaap Stam – are they showing patience?

Liam Moore challenges Nelson Oliveira during the game at Reading last season. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Liam Moore challenges Nelson Oliveira during the game at Reading last season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

AIf you had asked me that question over a week ago I would have said that the fans are mostly behind Jaap Stam, despite the poor start to this season. However, after yet another uninspiring game against Hull, certain sections of the crowd started booing the players and the manager’s substitutions. This never helps the cause, but Stam over-reacted in his post-match interview with a collective swipe at all Royals fans, which upset a lot of otherwise loyal and patient supporters. He has since come out and said he loves us really! The next few games could be very interesting.

QGoals seem to be hard to come by - did you ever think you were going to sign Nelson Oliveira, and do you think you should try again in January?

AIn the summer we seemed to be linked with every striker going. Our new Chinese owners would appear to have deeper pockets than any of our previous administrations so on that basis I did believe we would splash out on a quality striker. I’m not sure that Oliveira was the right option but I would prefer him in our squad than yours so let’s see what happens in January.

QThe transfer window is fast becoming a memory, but are you pleased with Reading’s business?

AYes and no! We have quality in depth in midfield and could probably turn out a team comprised solely of wingers and wing-backs but drew a desperate blank in acquiring a 20-plus-goals a season striker.

QWhat can we expect from Reading? Gung-ho? Guarded?

AAs there is no such word as “Gung-ho” in the Dutch language don’t expect end-to-end excitement from Jaap Stam’s team. We are currently the only team in the entire football league that has failed to score in the first half! If all goes to plan the Canaries will eventually run out of steam chasing shadows and Royals will score late on.

QSo which players should Norwich look out for tomorrow?

AThere have not been many stand-out performers for Reading so far this season but Liam Moore has been consistently good at the heart of our defence. Liam Kelly, who has recently graduated from our Academy, is a little spitfire in midfield. Mo Barrow was the pick of our wingers in August but has been injured and might not be fit in time for Norwich.

QAnd among the Canaries ranks, who will you be most wary of?

AJames Maddison seems to be in good form and scored a great goal in your win at ‘Boro. And since every player that has ever been linked with Reading invariably scores against us, I would put money on Nelson Oliveira coming off the bench and proving a point.

QIt wouldn’t be fair not to ask you for a prediction?

AMy predictions are always wrong and so that is why I am going for an away win!

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