You don’t forget how to ride a bike – Paul Ince back with win after eight years

Reading v Birmingham City – Sky Bet Championship – Select Car Leasing Stadium
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Interim Reading manager Paul Ince said that he had not “forgotten how to ride a bike” after his first match in charge for more than eight years ended in a 2-1 Championship victory over Birmingham.

After a tame first-half display, Reading went ahead with two goals in six minutes through Lucas Joao and a John Swift penalty.

Birmingham staged a late rally and gained reward from a Tom McIntyre own goal, but Reading held on for a first win in 11 home matches to move eight points clear of the relegation zone.

“I never really envisaged to be back in the dugout but it feels better to have a win,” Ince said.

“It’s been a few years away and a few years since I managed. But I’ve got football in my blood and I’ve always wanted to show that.

“But I’m 54, it’s not like I’m 84. It’s not as if you forget how to ride a bike – I know how to manage, I’ve done it before. My CV is as good as anyone’s.

“We have haven’t won here in four months, which is madness when you look at the quality we have in the team.

“Sure, we rode our luck at times. To play the way we did and get the three points was really great for the lads.

“It’s a challenge here, there’s still a lot of work to do and I’ve hardly got in the door yet.

“But we’re building bricks, building confidence and, when you win games, the belief grows – that’s so important.

“We showed our mental toughness tonight just when we needed to.”

Birmingham lie 18th in the Championship and frustrated head coach Lee Bowyer said: “It was the same old things again. We weren’t ruthless enough in the final third.

“I don’t know how many times we got in and around their goal in the first half – it must have been at least six. We just needed to make the right pass.

“But it kept happening all night long. We just didn’t take care enough. So many passes went across the face of their goal but no one was gambling for the tap-in.

“We were just so poor in that final third tonight and I don’t know why. It’s so frustrating.

“We were on the front foot in the second half and had Reading pinned in. Then we stopped doing that.

“It seemed too easy and then we started to complicate the game. And then we get caught twice in the middle of the park.

“They go bang, bang – a goal and then a penalty.

“Reading didn’t earn it tonight, we gifted it to them. That has happened again, we gave it to them.”

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