Coppell praises Royals effort
Steve Coppell felt Reading got their just rewards as James Harper's last-gasp winner secured a much-needed 1-0 win at Middlesbrough.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 01/03/08 8:34pm
Manager Steve Coppell felt Reading got their just rewards as James Harper's last-gasp winner secured a much-needed 1-0 win at Middlesbrough.
Boro controlled possession for long periods but failed to find a way through a dogged Royals defence and Harper struck in stoppage time to snatch a valuable three points.
The victory was the Royals' first away win since last April and revived their survival hopes after losing their last eight league games to slide into the relegation zone.
Harper's late winner was harsh on Middlesbrough, who were taken to extra-time before beating Sheffield United in the FA Cup in midweek, but Coppell believes his side deserved some good furtune.
"When you've gone so long without winning, when you eventually do, the feeling is just a huge sigh of relief," he said.
"Middlesbrough played 120 minutes in midweek, and if that was going to be a factor in the game, it was going to be in the last 10-15 minutes, and that proved to be the case.
"From my point of view, my players stuck in there all the time. It'd be easy after the run we've had to be soft-centred but we were hard today, we kept going, and we just got a break at the death."
Reading remain in the bottom three on goal difference yet despite enduring a wretched run of form in recent weeks, the Royals' response has convinced Coppell they can haul themselves to safety.
"It's given me a lot of hope as a manager," he said.
"Sometimes when you get on a run like this, you can't see where your next win's coming from, and yet every day on the training field the players have been at it and wanting to improve, and they got a return today."