REACTION: Stam on an “important” point, debut for Tom Holmes, picking Jaakkola and McCleary injury blow

Jaap Stam
Jaap Stam was satisfied with a point against Bolton

JAAP STAM says the 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers was an “important point” for Reading.

Royals have a tough run of fixtures coming up and have now only won one of their last 15 matches.

But Stam was happy to pick up at least a point to move five points clear of the bottom three and was pleased with the performance of debutant Tom Holmes.

Here is what he had to say.

On the draw…

It’s a very important point. I think to get something out of the game is quite important and of course you want to have a win but that didn’t happen so I think it’s very important to get a least a point.

The game wasn’t my type of football but it happens because it’s only long balls, it’s only fighting for the first one and maybe the second one and then going for it. Sometimes you need to do it, get stuck in and everybody knows that, especially in the situation that we’re in. To get something out of it is promising.

On making six changes…

Dave Edwards was one of six men to come into the side

I think we needed to make a lot of changes because we conceded too many easy goals. Sometimes you need to give other players who are doing well the opportunity to play.

On if his team deserved more…

No I think 1-1 was a fair result if you look at the game. Bolton pushed on, looking for free-kicks and putting the ball in there. It’s difficult when a team is playing like that. It’s difficult to get out because we might win the first ball but then their midfield players are right on top of us and you know the majority of teams have more physicality than we have. You need to fight very hard to at least get a point.

On playing Tom Holmes…

You can say it’s a big call and if it went wrong you could say why do you do it but now he has performed you can say it’s a brave thing to put him in there. That’s how it works in football. We want to educate the youth players to bring them to the first team. It doesn’t matter if he’s 17 or he’s 25, if the other ones are not performing then a younger guy who is doing well in training sessions gets the opportunity to play.

On Anssi Jaakkola starting in goal…

Anssi has been doing very well this season. From the beginning of the season until the last game Vito (Mannone) has been playing. Both are very good goalies. Sometimes you need to have a look at if the other player deserves a chance and with what Anssi has been showing in training sessions, he deserved a chance.

He didn’t have a lot to do. A couple of punches when there was a lot of players in front of him and sometimes he needed to kick the ball as far as he could. I think he did OK.

On Omar Richards and Garath McCleary injuries…

Before a training session against Wolves Omar pulled his calf. Everybody wants to see Omar. Against Sheffield United after two minutes Garath McCleary broke his ankle so we had to make a change. Omar had to come in and we were planning on resting him so he played three games in seven days and that’s what you get when a youngster plays three games in a high intensity.

Garath is out for the rest of the season. He doesn’t need to have surgery but he’s out for the rest of the season and hopefully he can be fit for pre-season. That’s another one out for a long time so you can’t say we’re very lucky with injuries.

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