Neville ’embarrassed’ by display
Reading striker Jason Roberts admitted he was sad to hear of
Brian McDermott’s sacking as manager.
McDermott was axed earlier on Monday with Reading four points
adrift of safety after suffering their fourth successive defeat
against fellow strugglers Aston Villa on Saturday.
Roberts admits he was shocked by the news and he paid tribute to
the job McDermott has done at the Madejski Stadium after guiding
them to promotion to the Premier League last season.
“Well I am saddened,” Roberts told Sky Sports News. “I hadn’t
heard anything about it I just found out earlier and as in most
situations players are probably one of last people to find out
about these things.
“I am saddened because he has been absolutely fantastic for us,
been fantastic for me personally and for the club and I think he’s
been a victim of his own success in some ways.
“I am sure he is going to be disappointed but as you know in
football it’s a result business and I am sure he will say that as
much as anybody else but as a player I am disappointed and it is a
sad day for us.”
Roberts believes McDermott deserves praise for what he has done
at the club during his time in charge.
“It is always tough in these situations we are not party to the
discussions had between the manager and whoever else,” added
“All we can do is just try and perform as best we can on the
pitch and I think the performances we have given up to this point
to allow Reading to be in Premier League and be in the position we
are now have been over and above what people would have
“In the Premier League certainly we would have liked to have
done better and liked to have been out of relegation zone but from
my point of view I think it is an important time to look back and
feel the success what Brian has achieved, what this group of
players have achieved with the club and take stock of what a great
situation Reading find themselves in.
“At the moment we have got nine games to go there is an
opportunity for us to remain in the premier league and we’ve
absolutely done better than people would have expected certainly
with the promotion and of course everyone wrote us off at the start
of the season.
“With nine games to go we still have an opportunity to achieve
Premier League survival.
“As a player it is just for me to place on record my thanks to
Brian McDermott on what he has achieved and whatever goes from here
on in we need to work hard and keep Reading in the Premier League
because that is the goal and even Brian McDermott would say the
A host of names including Nigel Adkins and Paolo Di Canio have
been linked with replacing McDermott, but Roberts wouldn’t be drawn
on who he wanted to get the job.
“It’s not a decision we are party to,” Roberts continued. “All
we can do is concentrate on what we do on the pitch and on the
training ground and do our best for Reading – I don’t think anyone
would say anything different.
“What we need to do is make sure we leave Reading in a good
position, I think Brian McDermott has done that and I think we owe
it to the club and owe it to Brian as much as anyone, to do the
best we can.”
The hosts hope Paul Quinn will be fit as the full-back is
nursing a knock following the 2-1 win at Bournemouth on Saturday
and Rovers boss Dean Saunders will check on him before finalising
his plans for Tuesday night.
Captain Rob Jones overcame the calf and ankle problems that
forced him off at half-time in the 3-0 defeat at MK Dons to play
the full 90 minutes against the Cherries.
Meanwhile, fellow centre-half Jamie McCombe has recovered from a
fractured bone in his back and resumed training but he is not yet
ready to be considered for first-team selection.
Winger Kyle Bennett will also miss out again as he recovers from
a knee injury.
With snow forecast for Monday night, Doncaster will conduct a
pitch inspection at midday on Tuesday to determine whether the game
will go ahead.
New signing Mathieu Manset could be included in the Cumbrians’
squad if the club receives international clearance in time.
But the 23-year-old Frenchman, recently with Swiss club Sion
following his release in the summer from Reading, is only 80 per
cent fit according to boss Greg Abbott.
Teenage striker Mark Beck is expected to lead the line in the
absence of the suspended Lee Miller after scoring his sixth goal of
the season in Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Brentford.
Miller will sit out the last game of his three-match ban
following his recent dismissal against Notts County.
Matty Robson (groin) returned from a four-match injury lay-off
against Brentford and is likely to continue and Abbott will be
boosted by the return to contention of midfielder Liam Noble
Abbott has no other new injury or suspension problems.
However the 36-year-old, who was taken off at half-time on
Saturday, insists the players will refocus their efforts on
securing European football.
He accepts, however, hopes of Champions League qualification –
which remained a tantalising prospect for much of the season – are
“It was a disastrous weekend for us. It was a disastrous
performance and there is no hiding away from it,” he said.
“Personally I was embarrassed by my own performance, it wasn’t
good enough as a captain and all the lads feel the same.
“We can’t hide away from the fact that we have to take our
medicine now, take the criticism that comes our way.
“We really felt this was going to be our year in the FA Cup but
we were beaten on the day by a team that was better than us.
“Sometimes you can lose cup ties and you can be unlucky but
there was no ‘unlucky’ about it on Saturday, we were well and truly
beaten and we need to put that right.
“We have got two months left in the season and we have to bounce
back and get a reaction.
“That’s what the manager wants and I’m confident in the group of
players that I share a dressing room with that we will do that.
“The Champions League place is in the distance: a European
place, we would take that now.
“It’s what we have been going for all season, making sure that
next season there is European football being played at Everton.
That’s our aim and remains our aim.
“If we can finish in the top four then so be it, but at the
moment our short-term aim is to win next Saturday against Man City
and to attack the last eight or nine games of the season.”
Irate fans voiced their anger at Goodison Park – which has
continued over subsequent days – with a chorus of boos and
half-time and the final whistle while midfielder Marouane Fellaini
was jeered when he was substituted in the second half.
The Belgium international appeared to become involved in an
altercation with supporters as he left the pitch and walked
straight down the tunnel.
Fellaini was due to attend a signing session at the club’s
Everton Two store in Liverpool this afternoon but that was
strategically pulled in light of Saturday’s events.
A statement on Everton’s website said: “Due to unforeseen
circumstances this afternoon’s signing session with Marouane
Fellaini at Everton Two has been postponed.”
The midfielder added on Twitter: “Sorry to the Everton fans, I
cannot make the signing session this afternoon. Will do another one
Neville has called for the players to pick themselves up and
show the fight which was so lacking at the weekend when the Premier
League champions come calling on Saturday.
“It’s the time where we need to stand up for ourselves,” he told
Sky Sports News.
“We had a disappointing February, picked up our form going into
March and then last week was a major setback for us.
“But this team, this club, has got major character and I fancy
us to bounce back.”
Everton manager David Moyes’ contract runs out in the summer and
the Scot has said he will not make a decision on his future until
later in the season.
Critics have suggested that has not helped the situation at
Everton, who dropped to seventh after Liverpool’s win over
Tottenham yesterday but are still level on points with their
near-neighbours and seven adrift of the top four.
“That’s something that only the gaffer can answer,” said Neville
in response to speculation about Moyes.
“He has brought all of the players in the squad to the club and
we all want him to stay but that’s up to the manager.
“We aren’t using that as an excuse for Saturday’s performance
-anyone that does, that’s a bit of a cop out.”