Reading chief Steve Clarke promises more to come after Norwich City scalp
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Steve Clarke preferred to praise his Reading players after plotting the first win of his new reign against Norwich City.
The former West Brom boss picked up a maiden victory at the third attempt since replacing Nigel Adkins at the Madejski Stadium and Clarke insisted it was long overdue.
'I am happy. Not so much for me but for my team because they have given us an awful lot,' he said.
'It is nice for me obviously and I can enjoy my glass of red. It always tastes a bit better when you win, but I am delighted for my players in their effort and application and the fans because it hasn't been such a good time for them so four points out of six during this busy period means they can go home with a smile on their faces.
'We are progressing well. The first game was a narrow defeat, then a draw and now a deserved victory. We will get better, for sure.
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'I said to the players that with these two games so close together it is much, much better to get your noses in front because if you are the team chasing it is difficult. There was a sense of injustice after the referee's mistake (for Norwich's goal), but the crowd really helped us home and we managed the game well.'
Clarke was baffled by the official's refusal to allow him to make a substitution in the build-up to Bradley Johnson's second-half screamer.
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'We should have been much more comfortable but for a really bad officiating moment, shall we say,' said the Scot.
'The referee seemed to take the law into his own hands and decide we couldn't make a substitution that had been prepared for the previous two or three minutes. Danny Guthrie was waiting to go on for Simon Cox, that was the change. Obviously Garath (McCleary) picked up an injury and he was going to go back on. The change was there, Guthrie for Cox, but he wouldn't let us make that one or the double change. I find that extraordinary because it cost us a goal. We lost a goal with 10 men when we shouldn't have had 10 on the pitch. We should have been allowed to make the change. I can't understand that.'
Cox's match-winner owed much to strike partner Glenn Murray's initial burst down the right. The experienced striker left to a standing ovation in the final match of his Crystal Palace loan stint but Clarke revealed he is desperate to complete a permanent move during the January transfer window.
'Hopefully it is not a farewell,' said Clarke. 'He deserved the reception because since he came here in August he has contributed in goals and with good performances. I have been really pleased with him. There is a structure in place so that we can try and do a deal now. But Palace have changed things around with the manager which puts it in a little bit of limbo.
'I would like to get Glenn back and he knows that. We have to decide now with Palace if we can buy him or do a loan. All parties would prefer it to be permanent but we just don't know now with the change of manager or even how late it could happen in the window. Maybe the new guy will want to see everyone. It is definitely not dead in the water and it is something we are going to try and make happen if we can.'