The crowd were leaving early, I wish I could have joined them

Last updated : 02 February 2003 By Tony Scholes

Reading have been struggling of late, they don’t seem (other than against us) to have the capacity to score goals and ever since Matthew Upson left they have been shipping them at two per game.

It was their first victory since 28th December (ours was Boxing Day in the league) and it finally put a smile on manager Alan Pardew’s face and he could not hide his delight after the game.

"We had a major review of Tuesday night’s performance against Leicester and we had all sat and watched the video and done some soul searching because I had told the players that I didn’t think we could ever play as badly as that," said the Reading boss.

"That performance on Tuesday night went back to my early time here when I had players who weren’t really bothered, but these players are and we needed to react. I thought we were absolutely magnificent today.

"Even though it was 5-2 we missed chances in the game. We hit the post at 5-1 and there was a point when the game did change a little bit. They got a penalty but Marcus made the save and after that I changed the system and from then on I thought we went on and won it comfortably."

Like most managers Pardew thought the decisions in his favour were correct and those against weren’t and added,

"I thought their penalty was really harsh and I had words with the linesman after the game. He said he’d never given one before so I think he had better give a good one next time.

"For ours though he definitely brought Darius Henderson down. He would have gone on and scored so there was no reason for him to go down.

"Overall that performance indicates just how good we are, we did make Burnley look very ordinary but I do have sympathy for Stan Ternent. He is a top man and will be spitting feathers. I’ll go and tentatively knock on his door and have a chat with him now."

Spitting feathers or not Stan was not happy but once again could not put a finger on just why we had turned in another abject performance.

"To be honest I am lost for words because we have been 100 times better than that recently. Too many of our players didn’t perform to their normal capabilities. I don’t know the reason because the preparation was good.

"The first goal was important and Paul Cook said that the ball didn’t go out of play but he gave it but it’s no excuse for our defending in this game though and we always seem to throw in a bad performance every now and again. It was just one of those days.

"Our performance was way below par and the crowd were leaving early. I don’t blame then and I wish I could have joined them."