McDermott defends Royals style
Brian McDermott has defended Reading's style of play amid claims they have resorted to scrapping tactics in a bid to avoid the drop.
The Royals have taken 10 points from the past 15 on offer and could move out of the bottom three with victory over fellow strugglers Wigan tomorrow.
With their recent surge has, however, come criticism - most notably from Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner.
After the Royals beat Sunderland 2-1 earlier this month Gardner claimed the match "wasn't football, it was a fight".
But ahead of a crucial relegation battle at the Madejski Stadium tomorrow, against a Wigan team feted for their passing style, McDermott denied his side were merely a bunch of bruisers looking to avoid the drop.
"I can only talk about what I see and we play football the way we have to play. We don't see ourselves as a long-ball team," he said.
"We're out there to watch. Everyone has their opinion on how we play.
"We know how we try and play; we try and get it down and pass the ball. If we have to go long, we'll go long.
"When Man United play they mix it up, they go short, they go long.
"That's what all the best teams in the world do."
Reading almost snatched an FA Cup replay from United at Old Trafford on Monday, when Adam Le Fondre narrowly headed over late on.
It would have been another in a growing list of late Royals fightbacks, that has already seen them grab points from the likes of Chelsea and West Brom.
McDermott believes his side's never-say-die attitude is at the heart of that, rather than any other more sinister approach others may be confusing them for.
"A lot of games in the Barclays Premier League are a fight and you have to win that fight," he said.
"Man United do that as good as anybody. They win that fight and win that battle and then they start to play.
"We would look at ourselves that way.
"You know you have to win your battle and when you've done that you've earned your right to play your football.
"I like to attack, that's my gut feel.
"Obviously I have to calm my own instincts down sometimes but we always attack late in the game, because we're trying to win.
"I like to give the fans shots, crosses and play in the opposition's final third if we can."
Reading were made to pay for their desire to stay on the front foot when they lost 3-2 to Wigan at the DW Stadium in November.
A late Ali Al-Habsi blunder had seemingly gifted them a share of the points but as the Royals pushed for a winner Jordi Gomez completed an unlikely hat-trick in stoppage-time to win the game for Wigan.
"We learnt from that. There's no point having regrets, it's done," said McDermott.
"Results would suggest that we've learnt that and I'll tell you an example.
"Against West Brom, it was 2-2 and we were nearly going to take a quick free-kick.
"But we set it up, we waited, we got it right, and we scored to make it 3-2. That's why you're in football, you learn.
"What I see here is a club that's always improving. Every year we've progressed as a club and we're trying to build something.
"We want to be playing in the Barclays Premier League next season, it's really something that we're striving to attain."