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Reading 17:30 Leeds

Friendly fire from Coppell

Reading boss unhappy with international schedule

By Lewis Rutledge.   Last Updated: 25/08/07 7:10pm

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Coppell: Games should be meaningful

Coppell: Games should be meaningful

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Steve Coppell questioned the value of international friendlies following Reading's 3-0 defeat to Bolton.

Nine Reading players competed for their countries in midweek and the result was a below-par performance at The Reebok Stadium.

Nicky Shorey was not able to play after suffering a knee injury in England's defeat to Germany on Wednesday, when he had to stay on the pitch as Steve McClaren had made all his substitutions.

Coppell said: "Everyone was moaning about there being only six substitutes so my player (Shorey) gets injured and has to stay on.

"It means he was unavailable for today. It was a situation exacerbated by having to play on. He wants to create the right impression when he should not have to.

"They (England) are on a money-making agenda, we are on a preparation for the season agenda. I suggest international matches should be meaningful.

"Real purpose and value would be get-togethers and a series of training sessions. At a time when players need a rest after three games in a week they were heading across Europe.

"The result was that my players had no energy and it wasn't helped either in that we had to travel.

"Yet Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal were all at home."

Worst performance

Reading coach Kevin Dillon admitted that it had been a poor display, but rubbished suggestions that it could be a difficult second season for the club after the success of last year.

"It was probably our worst performance for a long time," Dillon told Sky Sports.

"I thought Bolton were excellent and it excellent for them to get off the mark, but it was just one of those days when we didn't perform.

"I keep hearing about this second season syndrome but that's a load of rubbish.

"We've got a bunch of players who are very grounded, there'll be no Bentleys in our car park, and we'll just get on with it.

"We've got West Ham next week and if we win that we'll have met the targets we set for this period."

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