Reading boss convinced by Norwich City’s quality

AUDIO: Reading boss Brian McDermott is backing the Canaries to be where he wants to be in May – right in the middle of the promotion picture.

'Good luck to them today and I am sure that they will be very close to going up this year,' said McDermott. 'To come here and get a result is difficult – for anybody to come here and get a result. They play some good stuff but I would imagine that they will be close. They played some really good football, especially in the first 20 minutes and I thought we had to stay in the game which we did. Once we got the goal we were causing them problems.'

McDermott can hardly have been in the best of moods for handing out plaudits after seeing his 10 men come so close to an away point – especially after conceding late goals against Cardiff and QPR in their previous two games.

'We've done that to enough teams ourselves this season, but that's three conceded – against Cardiff, QPR and now Norwich – three of the better sides in this league,' he said. 'But today was a tough one to take. I was a bit shell-shocked at full time, so I'm sorry I didn't go and clap the supporters. But we will take it on the chin – and we move on. That is the most important thing. The only thing you can look to is the next game. We've got 16 games to go and the next one is at Sheffield United.

'I can't ask for any more from our players – they have given absolutely everything for the cause today against what I believe is a very good side.'

The credit for keeping Reading in the game will go to keeper Adam Federici, who pulled off a string of quality saves.

'The goalkeeper was excellent,' said McDermott. 'For anyone to come to Norwich in the form they are in at the moment you need your goalkeeper to play well and I feel for Adam today that he's not been in a side that's got a result, but his own performance was excellent.'

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If there was a bee in his bonnet, it was that referee Scott Mathieson denied Reading a penalty when Jay Tabb went down under pressure from David Fox, early in the second half.

'If he's not going to give a penalty, book him for diving,' McDermott said. 'It was a penalty. Anyone who knows Jay Tabb knows that when he falls over in the box – when he has the opportunity to shoot or to cross it – he's been fouled. They stood firm with 10 men and they did all they could. And it was a decent performance. But we're in the results business.'

As for Jem Karacan's red card, he said: 'He has mistimed the tackle and in 20111 players get sent off for that. Unfortunately for us he misses three games.'

McDermott did find consolation in defeat, saying: 'Remember Blackpool last season. At this stage of the season they had 40 points – we've got 42 and they had played 30 games.'

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