No fear from Royals – McDermott
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
“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
“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
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
“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’
“We haven’t got anything nailed down or anything,” the Reading
“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.”