Norwich City turn up the power and Reading feel the heat
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Reading chief Jaap Stam was not fooled by Norwich City's struggles prior to a 7-1 Championship mauling at Carrow Road.
The play-off bound Royals may be 13 points better off, but Stam believes the Canaries' set-up is still superior.
'It is about growing to a certain level,' he said. 'We have been in the top six working to a certain way. That is one standard but then you need to go to another, especially when you play teams like this. If you play a side like Norwich, with what is at stake for them, individually, looking towards next season you know they can punish you. We needed to be sharper and aggressive.
'Norwich have lost loads of games as well. That is why we are ahead of them, but they came down from the Premier League. We are trying to build a team. There is a big difference in the budget, what we have and what they have. We have to be realistic. We are working towards something that maybe in a couple of seasons we can go up to the Premier League. Norwich wanted to go back straight away and you can see how difficult that is.'
Stam is confident his young squad can recover for the defining battles ahead.
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'If you are the manager of a team that loses like that it is never nice,' he said. 'As a team, we try to learn from our mistakes, and if you play a game like this, you could say 'it's an off day', that's the easy option, and let's move on to the next one. We still need to improve and we need to talk about this one, the mistakes we made, how the opposition played, that's how you improve as a team, how I improve as a manager.
'Maybe this is the next stage for this group in terms of becoming better; if it's not working out for us, if a number of the players aren't playing up to the standards we've set, what can we change as a team to make it more difficult for the opposition? We knew this game was going to be a difficult one, but you don't want to lose by this scoreline.'
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Reading collapsed after conceding an early penalty.
'We didn't start well,' said Stam. 'Both defensively and attacking-wise we couldn't bring what we should bring, what we have brought to the last couple of games that have led to good performances and good results. Every shot they took was on target was a goal. The second balls fell to their feet, instead of ours. Sometimes it happens.'