*Interview conducted prior to Reading’s 3-0 victory over Hull City on 22 September
It’s been a tough start to the season for Reading who have so far registered only two league victories. What have you made of what you’ve seen?
It’s been a continuation from last season - it’s been pretty dismal all round, really. We’ve seen a couple of moments in games where Reading have shown some promise but, ultimately, for all the hard work they’ve put in, they’ve been let down by simple errors and lapses in concentration that have cost them goals and points. They are lacking confidence and don’t really have any momentum. The win they picked up against Preston North End two weeks ago was earned through hard work and passion but, against Norwich City last week, they looked to be back to square one with the same old fare that we’ve seen week after week in the last year or so.
Since taking over from Jaap Stam in March, Paul Clement has struggled for results and has won just three of his first 16 games in charge. In which areas have they looked weakest?
In every area they look below par. Clement must take some of the responsibility because, though he came in and got them over the line for survival last season, there were hopes of a fresh start and that hasn’t materialised. They didn’t win any games in pre-season and lost to Derby County on the opening night. So far this season they’ve just not looked like a cohesive side. You have to give them a little bit of credit for the win at Preston, but there is still a lot of work to do to propel them up the league.
Iceland striker Jón Dadi Bödvarsson’s goals seem to be one of the few highlights at the moment, but which player has impressed you the most?
I’d say Andy Yiadom, who has looked particularly good at full-back. They got him from Barnsley in the summer and he started off at right-back in place of Chris Gunter, but when Gunter came back into the side, he was moved across to left-back. No one has stood out too much, but he does look a threat down the flank. Yiadom puts himself about and is a tricky player on the ball; out of all the summer signings, he has looked the pick of the bunch. He must take his fair share of responsibility for the defence looking a bit shaky, but he’s probably the standout player.
What style has Paul Clement implemented at The Madejski Stadium?
It’s a lot more direct under Clement than it was when Stam was in charge. Reading try to get the ball forward quickly and utilise their talented wingers like Mo Barrow and Sone Aluko, but they aren’t stringing positive performances together on a regular basis. In Bödvarsson, Marc McNulty and Sam Baldock they’ve got strikers who can finish, but I’m afraid they are just not creating enough chances and the ones they do create are being spurned more often than not. The style it is better than what Stam served up, particularly towards the end of his reign.
What’s your score prediction?
I’ve been impressed with Brentford over the past couple of seasons. They are always entertaining games, but I can’t see it being a Reading win. I think Brentford will win 2-0.
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