Coppell Praises Defence

Last updated : 17 January 2004 By Rob Cooper
Last season Reading built their success around a strong defence whilst aiming to bag a flukey goal at the other end to see off the best of the Nationwide

Their was an element of that old defensive siege mentality in evidence this afternoon at the City Ground as Coppell's side claimed a 1-0 win.

The Royals, without a win or a clean sheet in six weeks, managed to keep the Forest forwards out during a turbulent second half to record a long-awaited win.

Despite hardly played quality football, the result was the one every Reading fan wanted as it should go some way to lift the morale of the distinctly off-colour side who had slipped to tenth in the table following a dismal Christmas run.

After the game, a relieved Steve Coppell was quick to applaud his defence who had to be both sharp and lucky during the second period.

"I thought we played very well in the first half, and in the second half human nature meant that we sat back too much because we wanted to protect what we had."

"But there was some top quality defending today, all across the back five there were some outstanding individual performances," said the Royals boss, who has been the subject of much criticism recently.

But Coppell didn't save all his praise for his match-winning defence. Attackers Nicky Forster and Scott Murray who created and scored the decisive goal received some words of approval from the Reading manager during his post-match press conference.

Talking about the goal, Steve Coppell added: "It was a great ball from Fozzy, a quick turn and a ball inside the full-back, Scott ran onto it and struck it crisply. He was aggrieved because just before that he felt he should have had a penalty when his shot struck an arm."

The Royals have reason to feel pleased with themselves tonight following an impressive win against a poor Nottingham Forest side but will know that there is much work still to be done before they can even consider breaking back into the top six.