Gaffer's thoughts after Royals draw
Kenny Jackett was pleased with Wolves’ performance as they secured a well-earned point at Reading this afternoon – and also went close to taking all three.
Home keeper Ali Al Habsi was the busier of the two goalkeepers at the Madejski Stadium, twice denying James Henry, while Bjorn Sigurdarson almost saw it open up for him late on.
As it was both sides were left to settle for a point, Wolves’ third draw in succession in a spell in which they have taken 15 points from the last eight games.
“We played very well and, as the away side, had control of the game for long spells,” said Jackett.
“We were a threat going forward and we had the two biggest chances with James Henry against his old club.
“A very good free kick which was saved by Al Habsi and then in the second half when the keeper got back on his line which was a harder chance than it looked as it wouldn’t quite come down for him.
“He didn’t quite connect but James has had a very good season for us and has seven goals so far this season.
“I was pleased with the players and with their attitude.
“Conditions were tough but you know what football is going to be like in January and February.
“Pitches can be tough, and that is when you have to show heart like we did today and lots of spirit.
“We took the game to Reading after a difficult start and probably had the more clear-cut chances.
“The players showed good passion and at times good quality away from home against a talented Reading side.
“I felt we fully deserved our draw, and perhaps more, and I was pleased with the performance.
“And there was good encouragement from a good number of travelling fans.”
Jackett was particularly pleased to see his team provide some solid foundations with a clean sheet, as well as a hugely promising performance at the other end from Sigurdarson.
It was a good response from Wolves to throwing away a 2-0 lead to draw with Bolton in midweek.
“It was a different type of game to Tuesday and it was a good clean sheet,” added the Head Coach.
“We need to be better defensively and have talked about that a lot.
“The goals against column has been too high for us to be competitive.
“We have given soft goals away and have had to address that.
“We don’t want to take away any attacking threat and Sigurdarson was very good today.
“As part of a front three he posed problems.
“If he plays like that the goals will come and he maybe just needed a toe-poke after that run in the second half.
“If we can dominate midfield like we did today then we will be able to create more opportunities for him.
“He has built up gradually and it was going to be that way after being out for such a long time.
“Right now I see a hungry player and that is a very good sign for the future.
“It was his first full game for a while and he looked strong all the way through.”
Jackett was asked about the switch in formation which saw new signing Joe Mason dropped to the bench, but also allowed the returning George Saville to impose himself in midfield.
“I wanted to go 4-3-3 and that was the reason for it,” he explained.
“I didn’t think we would be able to impose ourselves on Reading – they have a lot of good players and they move the ball very well and I felt we had to cover that in midfield.
“I was still very pleased with the start Mason made for us on Tuesday and he is a good addition for us.
“I thought George Saville had a very good game.
“I was pleased with his competition and his tackling and his range of passing – he has a lot to build on.
“He gave us some balance on the left side and at 22, he has been out on loan and this was a good start for him back at Wolves.
“I felt we needed to go back to 4-3-3, particularly away from home, to give us more of a foothold in the game.
“It is a formation that we know and we had some pace up front.
“I was disappointed with the Bolton performance which wasn’t really like ourselves – today was more like it with more composure and more build up and more of a threat in behind their defence.
“We want to close that gap between ourselves and the top sides in the division.
“I don’t think we are far away from being a good side and there are a number of teams in the middle of the division who will think that.”