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McDermott: 'Never write us off'

Published: 31 Jan 2013 12:100 comments

Reading 2 - 2 Chelsea

BRIAN McDermott believes his Reading team are becoming every journalist's nightmare after another late comeback stunned European champions Chelsea.

On-fire: Adam Le Fondre's brace helped Reading come from behind to draw 2-2 with Chelsea on Wednesday night.
Pic: Chris Forsey.

Royals turned their last three Premier League matches on their head in the most dramatic style, forcing reporters to frantically rewrite their reports.

McDermott's trailed 2-0 to the Blues on Wednesday night only for Adam Le Fondre to score twice in the 87th and 94th minutes and rescue a 2-2 draw at Madejski Stadium.

Reading's red-hot striker also came off the bench to score twice at Newcastle United recently to secure a 2-1 victory.

He was on the scoresheet again along with Jimmy Kebe and Pavel Pogrebnyak against West Brom when Reading scored three times in the last eight minutes to snatch a 3-2 victory from the jaws of defeat.

And McDermott is revelling in Reading's reputation as the comeback kings, even if the media aren't.

Speaking after the draw with Chelsea he told reporters: "I bet you were all gutted. I can imagine all the headlines were already written so everyone had to start their report again, that's so funny.

"We were written off in April when we came from nowhere to win the Championship last season. But I've got good people around me here and I would never write these guys off.

""They have so much heart and desire and a willingness to keep going and get something from a game.

"We didn't play particularly well against Chelsea but we got something out of it."

He added: "I don't know how to explain it. We were trying to get a foothold in the game.

"We didn't create too much in the first half but neither did Chelsea until they scored just before half time which was a body blow.

"In the second half I needed a solution from the bench and Adam Le Fondre and Hope Akpan made a big difference."

Reading looked to be heading for a certain defeat on Wednesday night after Juan Mata put the Blues ahead on the stroke of half time and Frank Lampard doubled their lead after 65 minutes.

Le Fondre then entered the fray on 67 minutes and turned the game on its head with two superb finishes in the 87th minute and the penultimate minute of injury time, both set up by fellow substitute Akpan.

The draw moved Royals out of the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference and McDermott added: "They were two great finishes from Alfie. The second one was ridiculous, it was top drawer given the time of the game.

"Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to get a third but we don't want to be greedy."

The draw means Reading are unbeaten in five matches in all competitions with four wins and a draw. They have also collected three wins and two draws from their last Six Premier League games to propel them out of the bottom three.

Wednesday's result was a hammer blow for Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez who admitted: "It's difficult to explain how we drew this game.

"We did everything to win the game. For 85 minutes we controlled everything and created enough chances to score four or five goals. It is difficult to take.

"We all take responsibility. We don't blame anyone. It's for us to analyse why we didn't kill the game off, and to work to stop the mistakes.

"We're still in a really good position in the table, but it could have been better.

"We are improving a lot. We did an exercise with corners and free-kicks on Tuesday and it was fine. Today for 85 minutes it was perfect."

Chelsea had led Southampton by an identical 2-0 scoreline recently only to end up drawing 2-2.

But McDermott argued: "I didn't see any vulnerability in Chelsea on Wednesday night and it would be poor to say so.

"They played well, had a lot of the ball and made it difficult for us.

"Once we scored we got a second goal but I didn't see a vulnerable Chelsea side, I saw a side with Frank Lampard, Juan Mata other world class players on the pitch.

"But we got a draw against the European Champions having been 2-0 down with six minutes to play. I think the night was more about our players than Chelsea's."

Reading host Sunderland at Madejski Stadium this Saturday (3pm ko).

Reading: Federici - Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte - Kebe, Karacan (Akpan 76), Leigertwood, McAnuff (c) (Le Fondre 67) - Guthrie (McCleary 56) - Pogrebnyak. Subs not used: Taylor, Shorey, Morrison, Robson-Kanu.

Chelsea: Turnball - Ivanovic, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Cole - Mata (Benayoun 76), Lampard (c), Ramires, Oscar, Bertrand - Torres (Ba 90). Subs not used: Hilario, Terry, Ferreira, Marin, Ake.

Referee: Mark Halsey.

Attendance: 24,097 (Chelsea 2,108).

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