Reading interim manager Paul Ince admitted that he got his tactics wrong in the opening stages of the dramatic 4-4 Sky Bet Championship draw at home to Swansea.
Although Reading grabbed an early advantage through a Lucas Joao penalty, Swansea hit back to lead 3-1 at the interval.
Goals from Hannes Wolf and Joel Piroe – plus a further Piroe spot-kick – left Reading struggling.
Michael Obafemi made it 4-1 in the second period but the home side made a stirring fightback and grabbed a point with efforts from Tom Ince, Joao and defender Tom McIntyre.
Reading are now seven points clear of the relegation zone with three matches remaining.
“We got off to a great start and got the early penalty,” Ince said. “But, then, for some reason, I think I might have got it wrong from a technical point of view.
“We were trying to hold off, trying to nick balls, stuff like that. It was too much and I think the guys took the standing off a bit too literally.
“But I’ll hold my hands up for that, I got it totally wrong. And before we knew it, we had conceded two goals.
“But the spirit and togetherness of the lads was immense, even at 3-1 down at half-time.
“Even at 4-1 down, we got a goal back and there was a sense of belief among the lads and around the stadium.
“When we got the third goal, it was game on. It was push, push, push.”
Ince admitted that he felt sympathy for Derby manager Wayne Rooney, whose side were relegated due to McIntyre’s late leveller.
“What Wayne has shown is that he is more than capable of being a very good manager,” Ince said.
“To get to this point of the season after a 21-point deduction, and only get relegated now, shows you how well he’s done.”
Despite the late collapse, mid-table Swansea stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches.
“I was really disappointed with it,” Swans head coach Russell Martin said. “I loved us for 60 to 65 minutes. Some of our stuff in the first half was incredible.
“We were up against a team fighting for their lives. The goals we scored were quality – even the penalty for our build-up to it.
“So for those 60 or so minutes, we were outstanding. I was proud of the players for what they produced.
“But for 25 or 30 minutes, we allowed the game to become like we did. Reading threw everything at it, took more risks and gambled a bit more.
“At 4-1 up, we needed more attention to detail, more intensity and more focus.
“But we allowed the game to become a stereotypical Championship game. And we’re not very good at that.”
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.