Pardew: My Side Were Nave

Last updated : 24 August 2003 By Rob Cooper
Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew has criticised his young side following their poor second half performance yesterday, suggesting that some of his players were too naïve. (Naïve being his new joint favourite word along with terrific).

The Royals defeated Derby County 3-2, exorcising the demons of last August. On the season's opening day last year Pardew's side embarrassingly lost 3-0 at the hands of the Rams, relegation strugglers to be.

However, goals from the new boys, Shaun Goater and Scott Murray (two strikes) gave Reading the win they barely threatened to register last year.

However, this season Reading Football Club are playing a whole new ball game and promotion is the burning ambition. Given the weighty expectations, Alan Pardew was somewhat disappointed with the second half display.

The Royals allowed the home side back into the game, nearly permitting them to seal an unlikely comeback.

Speaking after the game, Pardew admitted his disappointment at the way the second half had gone.

"We've got a lot of young players in midfield, and we naïvely felt we could just keep the ball, we didn't go forward on the front foot, and we have to learn from that," he said.

"We didn't play great today, we got a 3-1 lead and then seemed to think we could go through the motions. You can't do that at a place like Derby. Their fans were terrific, they drove them on, and they were well worthy of the second goal."

However, Alan Pardew had little displeasure in reserve for Scott Murray or Nicky Forster. The duo both put in masterclass performances once more, underlining their ever-growing reputations.

Murray, who last week netted in the 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest, weighed in with a further two goals from midfield yesterday. The former Aston Villa man has been a massive hit since arriving at the Madejski Stadium this summer and already has an iconic status amongst the supporters.

"Scott Murray was terrific today. He was at fault for their second goal, but I've told him he was a top man today," commented Pardew.

Despite not hitting the back of the net, Forster once more impressed for the Royals. The wriggly centre-forward hassled the Derby defence all afternoon with his pace and trickery. Indeed, Pardew struggles to think of a better striker in the First Division.

"I think Fozzy's the best striker in the division at the moment, and he wreaked havoc in the first half," he concluded.

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