Lewis Baker is confident that his team’s unity and fighting spirit will help Royals bounce back against Stoke following Reading’s disappointing display against Championship pacesetters Leeds United.
Chelsea-loanee Baker was speaking after Jose Gomes’ side were outclassed by league table toppers Leeds, who ran away 3-0 victors at the Madejski on Tuesday evening.
Results elsewhere in midweek mean Reading are now only outside of the relegation zone on goal difference and midfielder Baker insists Royals can’t allow their heads to drop.
“I don’t think this is a time to get too down on ourselves. We’ve had so many positive moments in recent weeks and we carry on going. The main thing is the unity that we’ve got in this team, we’re all close together and will carry on fighting,” said Baker.
“Leeds definitely are the benchmark this season. Everyone’s watched them loads this season. We know what they’re capable of and in the first half they showed what they’re about.”
The Royals’ performance did not match the drama of the last-gasp win over Wigan victory of last weekend, something which Baker was not afraid to admit.
“It wasn’t great. Credit to Leeds, they’re a top team,” said Baker.
“We started of the game well, in the first 15 minutes. It was then disappointing to let in three goals in the first half, because from there we know it’s a hard game to get back in,” added Baker.
Despite the result, Baker was able to find some positives from his side’s performance, in particular how they reacted after the restart.
“Second half we showed a bit of resilience and managed to not let them score anymore goals, but on the other hand we didn’t manage to get a result,” said Baker.
“I don’t think we showed them too much respect, all the boys were up for it. You could see in the game, some of the goals they scored today were class, sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say there’s not a lot you can do,” he added.
The squad has been plagued with injuries in recent weeks, with star striker Nelson Oliveira out with a hamstring injury. His presence was missed on Tuesday night as Royals lacked a killer instinct in front of goal.
“We’ve got some really important players out through injury, but we’ve also got enough quality in the squad to have good games, so I wouldn’t use that as an excuse,” said Baker.
“It’s good for Ryan East and Michael Olise getting their debuts. It’s definitely a tough game for them to come into but credit to them, they did well.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game again Stoke, Baker hopes Royals can get back to winning ways. “We didn’t show enough on Tuesday, but we go into the Stoke game with high spirits. Our form is improving, and we’re building something,” said Baker.
“It’s going to be a massive one, and we’re fully determined.
“We know we can play much better than Tuesday, and from the recent games as well, we’ve shown the fight and determination so we’ll keep bringing that every week,” he added.