Give Me Something For The Pain

By Rob Cooper
Last updated : 26 November 2003
The Royals were annihilated 3-0 by Burnley last night to bring to an end an impressive run of three straight clean sheets.

Coppell's side, despite threatening to destroy the Clarets in the first half, thoroughly deserved to be sent home pointless after an inept display. Following such an awful performance, the Reading manager hopes his side 'feel hurt' by the result and react in the correct way on saturday

The demoralised Royals chief told Reading World: "I want defeats to hurt (the players). They certainly hurt me and I'll carry it with me for a day or so, but after that I want to see a response, I want the players to have a real resolve to get back on track."

The sorry display saw the Reading man record his worst defeat since taking charge of the Berkshire side, yet on another night it could all have been very different. Going forward the visitors missed chance after chance and could easily have been level at the break.

"Looking back over the 90 minutes I thought we had some very good opportunities to get into the game, and the timing of the way the game went was critical to the end result," added Coppell.

Yet it wasn't just going forward that individual incidents cost Reading. Defensively every strike of the triple blow the Burnley attacking line inflicted on the Royals was avoidable. Marcus Hahnemann and Ivar Ingimarsson in particular have come in for much criticism following their poor defensive lapses.

Indeed, Hahnemann has dropped a number of clangers in recent weeks, compromising Reading's league position. A more consistent shotstopper would have kept clean sheets against Crewe and Walsall and would perhaps have conceded just once last night.

Despite his cult status the Big American is looking increasingly dispensable. If the Royals didn't need to strengthen their attack so desperately, signing a reliable goalkeeper would almost certainly be on the agenda.

Analysing the trio of defensive mix-ups Coppell bluntly concluded: "Players depend on their team-mates around about them to cover up errors, and we certainly weren't effective in doing that. Three errors cost us big time."

The Royals manager has until Saturday to get the Reading footballing machine back in order as Watford, poised in sixteenth position, are the visitors at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

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