Reading boss Paul Ince felt his side’s 1-0 victory over Wigan proved their ability to bounce back after a disappointment.
The Royals arrived at the DW Stadium on the back of a 3-0 thumping at home by Sunderland but a brilliant free-kick just after the hour by the manager’s son, Tom Ince, ensured a return to winning ways in the Championship.
The winning margin could have been even more emphatic, with Ince sending a free header over the bar and Yakou Meite being denied by Ben Amos.
Wigan had chances to level, but Will Keane headed against a post before Callum Lang blazed over when clean through, leaving Ince senior a very satisfied man.
“It was the perfect response,” he said. “Irrespective of the result of the game, whether we’d have won, drawn or lost, it wouldn’t have mattered what I said to the players.
“I just wanted to see a bounce-back performance from the game against Sunderland, and that’s what we got.
“I told them midweek was gone, and the only game that matters was the next one.
“We knew we were coming to a tough place in Wigan, as we needed to put a performance in. Whatever that performance brought, that didn’t matter. But as long as they competed, that was all that mattered – and we did.
“Looking at the game itself, we started a little bit slow, but once we got a foothold in the game, we played some lovely stuff.
“We deserved to be in front, and the only disappointment for me was that we weren’t two or three goals up.
“If you don’t kill games at this level, you’re risking being punished. And as you saw in the last few minutes, Langy should have scored, and Charlie Wyke also headed over the bar.
“If we’d have come in and not won, that would have really hurt, because we really deserved to win the game.
“Tom should have scored his header to make it 2-0, he isn’t the best header of a ball, but my daughter would have scored that!
“Yak’s got to score as well, and that’s game over at 3-0.
“But as the game goes on, we get deeper and deeper, Wigan like to go long, back to front very quick, and they could easily have taken something.”
For Wigan boss Leam Richardson, it was a disappointing way to sign off for the international break.
“The game was there to be won, and I think we played with enough energy, impetus and sharpness during the first half,” he said.
“We had to take the game to them and try to make those opportunities.
“We controlled possession and had enough shots but not enough on target.
“We didn’t really put them under enough pressure compared to what we normally do.
“We have to play at a certain level to be the best versions of ourselves and we just dipped a little.
“As a team collectively, we’ve got to be better, sharper and more productive with what we do.
“We took the game to them towards the end, and we had enough final-third entries – we hit the post and had a couple of chances.
“But it’s a tough league and we’ve got to be at it every single time we take the pitch.
“We are still learning and growing as a group, as a team.
“Today, it’s not our finest day but we’ll learn from it and quickly educate ourselves and be better.”
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