Premier League

No fear from Royals - McDermott

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Tue, 21 Aug 2012 16:35:00

The Royals marked their return to the Premier League on Saturday with a 1-1 draw against Stoke thanks to a 90th-minute penalty from Adam Le Fondre.

Brian McDermott's men face a completely different task on Wednesday when they visit Stamford Bridge to take on a revitalised Blues team with an embarrassment of riches.

With the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar bearing down on them, the Royals would be forgiven for playing defensively in the hope of salvaging a draw, but Reading midfielder Mikele Leigertwood insists the underdogs will go on the attack in west London on Wednesday.

Last season Swansea's enterprising game saw them take points off Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, and Leigertwood thinks his team should employ the same approach against Roberto Di Matteo's side on Wednesday evening.

"You can't go in to any games fearing teams or sitting back. You have to attack and put teams under pressure and I'm sure we'll do that tomorrow," Leigertwood told a press conference.

"We have pace in the side and strength up front with Pog (Pavel Pogrebnyak).

"We'll play with a high tempo and that will be good for us.

"We want to give a good account of ourselves and go there and win hopefully.

"We have taken belief from watching teams like Swansea, Norwich and QPR. They all stayed up and it shows that if you go and attack you can do well in this league."

Pogrebnyak, a summer signing from Stuttgart, was tipped to star on Saturday, but it was Leigertwood who took all the plaudits, earning the man of the match award after a typically combative display in midfield.

It was a sweet moment for the midfielder as he has previously been relegated from the top flight on two occasions - with Sheffield United and Crystal Palace - both of whom went down on the final day of the season.

Leigertwood has not forgotten how disappointing it is to be relegated and he does not want to go through the same experience with Reading this term.

"Being relegated is never nice so I am more determined than ever," the 29-year-old said.

"I want to go that one step further than I did with Palace and stay up and hopefully finish my career in the Premier League.

"It feels good to be back in the Premier League.

"Every footballer wants to be playing at the top of their game against the best players in the league so for me it's fantastic."

McDermott watched Chelsea move 2-0 up and coast to victory against Wigan on Sunday and he has no doubt how hard it will be to overcome the Blues on Wednesday.

"They are the best team in Europe," McDermott said.

"I thought they were really, really good on Sunday.

"They started off really well. They got a couple of goals early on and could have scored another one when Fernando Torres went through.

"But it will be a great challenge for us tomorrow night."

Many have predicted that Reading will struggle to stay in the top flight this year, but McDermott seems relatively happy with his current squad despite the transfer window shutting in 10 days' time.

"We haven't got anything nailed down or anything," the Reading boss added.

"We have signed seven senior players and two young players so that's nine players we've signed this summer. In anyone's business that's a lot of players."

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