Off to the right start - 12/08/2002
After having the summer to re-group and focus on getting back to the Premiership it was a relief to get off to a winning start. Every pro will tell you that when the season kicks off, you tend not to want to play a side that’s just come up from promotion. However with Pride Park looking so good and having the backing of a vocal crowd, there was certainly a lot of optimism in the home dressing room.
Reading played a very organised game, leaving one up front and crowding out the midfield. We created a number of chances, but after going in 0-0 at half time, it was important that we continued in the same vein and kept our nerve. Teams are going to come to Pride Park and we can’t expect them to play attacking, open football. We’ve just come down from the Premiership, we’ve got a few big names and we’re a prized scalp to take. To get the vital opener - with my old mate shooting from outside the box, settled us and we went on to score healthy win.
The atmosphere in the changing rooms was very good, but I went in and said to the lads…”One down, forty-five to go”! It’s not that I want to be a killjoy, but we need focus and have to keep our feet on the ground. It’s a long season and promotion’s not won after one game.
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