REACTION: Jose Gomes on dramatic win over Wigan, injuries to Ejaria and Moore and the relegation battle

Jose Gomes

Jose Gomes praised the fight of his players to battle back from behind to defeat Wigan in a thrilling clash at Madejski Stadium.

Reading trailed 2-1 before Mo Barrow netted a brilliant equaliser in the 89th minute and Yakou Meite won the game in the seventh minute of stoppage time.

REPORT: Meite seals stunning comeback

And Gomes says his players deserved the victory, their first after trailing in a game since April 2017 to move up to 19th and three points clear of the relegation zone.

On the win…

I am exhausted. Like all the team, it means we gave all our energy to Reading. The players, fans and club all deserved it.

WIN! Tickets to see Reading face Leeds on Tuesday

We tried to play positive football to use the game time with football actions but our opponent didn’t. Like it happens often in the Championship, inside of the game, we have the fight side and the football side. Sometimes, to achieve to the football side, you have to win the fight side. My players were brave, they didn’t turn their back on the fight and they deserved the three points.

Yakou Meite was the hero

I’m happy – not with the football we played because sometimes the game was too complicated – but with the way my players fought for each ball and they also felt the fans’ support – pushing them from the very beginning.

We got what we wanted in the last minute and it was a fair result.

I cannot hide this point too – I must say congratulations to the owner Mr Dai because in January his opinion was to keep Meite in the squad. So it was important because he got us this three points.

On the never-say-die spirit…

It shows the way the players are fighting to get the points we need to get to safety. I feel very well with the way my players are working.

We have a very strong group and this dynamic and spirit they showed in this game and last week as well.

On yellows for him and assistant Jorge Mendonca…

It’s because I celebrated with Yakou out of my technical area. I understand, he’s following the rules but football is a passionate game.

Mendonca was complaining with the referee because he thought he should have shown a yellow card to the player and made that gesture.

On the referee’s performance generally…

I thought he did the best he could. I don’t need to talk about the referee – sometimes we are happy or not happy with them but they are part of the game. They are the third team on the pitch but we cannot control this side. We must put the focus on our team.

The very good thing is for Reading it’s the first time we have had back to back results since 2017 so it was important to give the confidence back.

Mo Barrow bagged a late equaliser for Reading (Pic by Steve Smyth)

Like always we cannot celebrate though, we need to keep our feet on the ground because on Tuesday we have another very tough match.

On moving up the table…

We made a very good step – it was an important three points but we have a long way in front of us. Everything can happen so we can’t relax.

On going above Wigan…

We must keep working like we are working and keep our focus on the match that we have in front of us. On Tuesday we have another game between two teams that will fight for the three points. We will try to recover the best that we can because it is not easy with just two days to recover. We will count the guns that we have for this war because we have players with small injuries and some players are completely out and tomorrow we will start recovering and preparing for Tuesday’s game.

On Ovie Ejaria’s withdrawal…

He has a problem in his groin but I don’t know if he can play on Tuesday or not. We must wait for the medical department’s opinion.

On suggestions the Championship is one of the most competitive leagues in the world…

I completely agree. We can see football, but during the games a lot of things happen outside of football. It’s a different style, different philosophy and we must adapt to this philosophy otherwise it’s impossible to win. That’s what my players did today, they adapted and sometimes under the rule of the opponent’s football, we beat them.

On if he has had to adapt as a manager…

I was saying just 10 minutes ago to my staff that when I played in the amateur leagues, the football was like that. Who could say that the experience I had in 1988 could be important to understand this game better, but it’s similar with long balls and second balls. After we tried to play football.

On the physicality of the Championship…

Reading v Millwall

It’s very physical. A big intensity, a very tough challenge between the players. They must be very prepared to have success in the Championship.

On Liam Moore’s injury…

He’s really brave. He suffered but he didn’t want to come out of the game. For sure tomorrow he will feel more pain but hopefully he can play on Tuesday. We’ll see tomorrow. He gave a fantastic example today.

On the build-up of injuries…

To be prepared for an intense game we must train with intensity as well, otherwise you cannot prepare. Sometimes this happens. I think that Ovie is not a serious injury. What happened with Moore, we cannot make any real relation with how we are working. His arm was pulled and his shoulder was dislocated.

On having Michael Olise and Ryan East on the bench…

They have been working with us. It could’ve been (Josh) Barrett but he has a health problem. Unfortunately I couldn’t use him. But we must reduce the number of professional players here and give a chance to the young players to train with us and in the moment that we need them, they were on the bench.

On picking up some wins…

It’s very nice. When you score in the 97th minute, it’s a very good feeling. But it’s also the result of what my players have been doing during the week, they have been working very, very hard. For the way that they fought today, they really deserved these three points.

During half-time I told them that inside the game we have two different parts – fight and football. If you want to reach the football, you must win the fight. Only God knows the final result but I know that you will win this and we will be better than them at the fight. That’s why we won this game, because they fought and they deserved to win.

On controversy around the second Reading goal…

I heard talk about that. I don’t know why they talk too much about that. Firstly, they started wasting time from the beginning. Their goalkeeper should have received a yellow card in the first half.

On this goal, when the referee stopped the game, which was a very dangerous attack actually, it’s usual that the referee drops the ball without the opponent. The referee drops the ball near the player who will start the game again, that happens a lot. All of them were behind the ball so they were organised defensively. We started playing in the midfield line with all of them behind the ball. The ball was our ball so I don’t find any problem. It is not a question of fair play. Fair play is we start with the ball. I don’t know why they complain, I cannot understand.

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