'No reason to doubt Anton' says Royals skipper

Published: 16 Nov 2012 06:301 comment

READING FC captain Jobi McAanuff believes Anton Zingarevich was right not to overspend last summer, insisting the club's season is on the verge of taking off.

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Royals have failed to win any of their opening 10 Premier League games, with pundits now suggesting the players are not up to the task.

New owner Anton Zingarevich spent a mere £5 million in summer transfer fees on Chris Gunter and Adrian Mariappa while the club also landed Pavel Pogrebnyak, Nicky Shorey, Garath McCleary and Danny Guthrie on frees.

Meanwhile, rival clubs including fellow newcomers QPR and Southampton spent vast sums more. They are the only teams beneath Reading in the table and are due to play each other this Saturday when Brian McDermott's men host Everton at Madejski Stadium (3pm ko).

Rumours now suggest Zingarevich is poised to sign 10 new players in the January transfer window, though the club this week insisted it has no such plans.

And McAnuff says their wealthy Russian owner is fully behind the current squad.

"We believe in what we've already got here, that's why we didn't spend £40 million in the summer," argued McAnuff. "The gaffer believes in it and as players we believe we're good enough to compete at this level.

"We've drawn six games and if we turn a couple of those into wins people would be saying we've had a really good start to the season. It's important not to lose that perspective."

Reading and QPR are still looking to break their duck, while Saints have won once. However, both spent around £30 million in transfers last summer but are propping up the table.

By contrast, McDermott's men are three points from safety behind Aston Villa and Sunderland and have lost only one of their last six Premeir League fixtures, with five ending in draws.

And McAnuff, who turned 31 last week, suggested: "I think there are teams around us in the table who have spent a heck of a lot of money, bigger clubs with expectations to be much higher up the table than they are.

"From my point of view, I think they will be under more pressure at the moment.

"Pressure can also be created off the pitch but it's not like that here, people can see how close we are."

He added: "Anton comes to all the games and I had a good chat with him. He knows how close we are and to get that from him is a a real positive for everyone around the club.

"It's not a situation where everyone is looking over their shoulder wondering what's going to happen.

"Everyone is on the same page and that's important for us. There is no doom and gloom because we honestly believe the results we need are just around the corner.

"We would love more points on the board but, if we were losing games every week, then it would be tougher to take. The fact is we haven't lost many and the main thing is we are very hard to beat at the moment. We feel there's a lot more to come from us."

While Royals remain winless in the Premier League with more than a quarter of the season gone, they are far from cut adrift and are in striking distance of the teams above.

They now enter a congested winter period and some mouthwatering clashes against heavyweights like Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City before the end of the year.

Perhaps more importantly, they also face a series of crunch games against teams near the bottom including Aston Villa and Southampton.

McAnuff stressed: "We're not daunted by anything. All we can do is try and get closer to the teams above us.

"We did that last weekend with a point against Norwich and now we've got some big games coming up against teams around us.

"We need to pick up points from these games and it's all about making sure the distance between us and the rest is never too great.

"In this league if you win a couple of games you can shoot right up the table, just like Norwich have.

"There's no reason why we can't do that. We've drawn six Premier League games and with a little bit of luck, a bit of better play here or better defending there, we would be even better off points-wise.

"We know the opportunities will be there for us, we've just got to keep doing the right things and the results will come."

McAnuff's theory will be put to the test this Saturday when fourth-placed Everton visit the Madejski Stadium.

David Moyes' Toffees have had a blistering start, though McAnuff believes Royals are capable of springing a surprise.

"They've had a fantastic start but I think this game will suit us more," he suggested. "Norwich sat very deep last week and invited us to break them down, but I think Everton will come and try to play football.

"It's a great game for us and we're really looking forward to it. We feel these kind of games are right up our street."

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