Coppell: We deserved to lose
By Robin Hackett
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Steve Coppell does not feel the referee is to blame for their defeat to Everton.
Steve Coppell refused to condemn referee Steve Tanner after he turned down his side's penalty claims and admits Reading were second best against Everton.
Goals from Andy Johnson and James McFadden handed Everton a 2-0 victory, and Coppell is refusing to put the blame on anyone other than his team.
"We started poorly, lost an early goal and then we struggled to come to terms with the game," he told Sky Sports.
"At half-time, we thought we could push on from there and really make a fixture of it, but their second goal realistically killed the contest.
"We were very positive after that and had a couple of things flashed around the goal, but without getting a break we were always going to come second."
Asked about the penalty claims, he said: "I'm not going to go into it. The referee - I believe it was his first Premiership game - was maybe looking for reassurance from the linesman on what I would say was the main shout on Seol Hi-Hyeon.
"It was certainly a foul, it's just a question on whether it was inside the box or outside the box, but it's pointless talking about it."
Leroy Lita came on as a second-half substitute and made a real impression in the game, threatening to bring Reading back into it on several occasions, and Coppell admits he should have started the striker.
"I thought long and hard about starting him this week and, on the evidence of what I've seen, perhaps I should've done.
"But hindsight is a wonderful gift."
After gaining just one point from their last four games, Reading must now prepare for an away trip to Chelsea on Boxing Day, but Coppell refuses to be overawed.
"We were travelling the motorways last year and working very hard to be in this position. There's no way now we're going to apologise for playing this fixture.
"We're looking forward to it, we want to just concentrate on the football, play the game.
"It'll be a great event, for little Reading to go to Stamford Bridge and play against the champions."
The game will see Stephen Hunt and Ibrahima Sonko face the Chelsea fans for the first time after their challenges caused injuries to goalkeepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini, but Coppell just wants to focus on the game.
"We just want to play football. Everyone else can do all the talking about us, all the other side issues. We've got a match to play."
Asked if he would prepare the duo for the treatment they are likely to receive, Coppell claimed they were already well aware that they would face abuse.
"Do you not think they realise that? They're not Neanderthals. Footballers are intelligent."