Reading chief Nigel Adkins rues defensive lapses against Norwich City

Reading boss Nigel Adkins admits the Royals' Premier League prospects look increasingly bleak. Pictu

Reading boss Nigel Adkins admits the Royals' Premier League prospects look increasingly bleak. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Royals' boss Nigel Adkins conceded the numbers do not make good reading after slipping ever closer to relegation at Carrow Road.

Adkins admitted the Premier League table looks bleak for the bottom club following Reading's failure to check Norwich's second half onslaught.

'We knew Norwich's strengths and I thought we did well in the first half. We nullified a lot of the things we knew they could go and do,' said Adkins.

'Unfortunately, for a 10 or 15 minute period in the second half, we didn't deal with the physicality of Norwich City.

'We had talked about Norwich's danger from wide positions, I think something like 92pc of Norwich's goals have come from crosses and 58pc from set pieces into the box.

'And, from our point of view, two goals scored so close together, have effectively cost us the game.'

Adkins is still searching for his first win since replacing Brian McDermott at the Madejski Stadium in what looks a forlorn survival battle.

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'Let's not hide away from where we are in the division. It was always going to be a massive challenge. But we'll learn the lessons from this game and get ourselves ready for the next one,' he said. 'Obviously we're at the wrong end of the division, but we've got to keep building on what we're doing. This is four games that I have been with Reading now and it's a changing face – in terms of what we want to do – we want to play the game in a different manner to the way the lads have been used to, and I thought we did that very well in the first half. We've got to take those positives forward, looking to improve on everything we do. Ultimately, though, it's about what you do in both penalty areas.'

Adkins insists he has detected grounds for optimism.

'If you'd watched us in the first game at Arsenal and compared it to our performance here, there are obviously things we are implementing,' he said. 'The players' attitude has been first class.'