Reading boss McDermott - Holt should not have seen red

Reading boss Brian McDermott admitted the red card shown to Grant Holt was harsh – but preferred to credit his team for their second-half performance rather than sympathise with 10-man City.

McDermott was unhappy with his team's first 45 minutes, which ended with City losing Holt for an innocuous challenge on Ian Harte.

'I've seen it and I didn't think it was a red card,' he said. 'We had a similar thing on Wednesday with Cardiff's goal, but too many managers talk about referees, and I said as much on Wednesday. We should be talking about the great entertainment for everyone.'

City may beg to differ: without Holt, Reading came out for the second-half with fresh impetus, and clawed two goals back to rescue a point that seemed unlikely when it was 11 v 11.

'You can never take anything for granted against 10 men,' said McDermott. 'At half-time it wasn't about the fact they had 10 men, it was about making sure we got back into the game, did the right things.

'If they had 11, 10 or nine men, it was just important for our players to give the crowd something to cheer. In the first-half we gave them nothing. It was about us, doing our stuff for Reading.

'The first-half we were poor, we gave goals away, it was as bad as we've been since I got the job, I was devastated with it but we just had to address that.

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'I said that at half-time in the dressing room, I said that as a group we need to restore the pride in the shirt, and afterwards I just thanked them for doing that, and we should have won the game.

'We didn't defend well in the first half and there are players in the dressing room holding their hands up about the way we defended, the way we played. We do that as a unit, we stick together.

'Restoring the pride in the shirt was very, very important to me and we've got a point when at half-time it looked like it was going away from us. We were much, much better second half.

'Even at 3-1 I always see a way back into a game, with this group of players and I thought we were going to win it. We've got goals in the team and we've got fight. The substitution [Michail Antonio] made a difference, I felt, and I thought we were going to win it.'

While McDermott was happy enough with the second-half show, there are still issues to be sorted.

'Are we right as a team? No, and you can see that,' he said. 'We're working really hard on that, you can see what went out of the club in the summer, we're working really hard to get as right as we possibly can.

'We've had three difficult games against sides at the top, we've under-performed in one and a half of the games, the full game at QPR and the first half of this game. We've got two draws, we should have had four points. I've got an honest group and there are 87 more points to play for and we want as many as we can.'