READING FC boss Jaap Stam claims poor decision making by his players was at the heart of their 1-0 defeat to Brentford.

Lasse Vibe hit a 74th minute winner for Bees at Madejski Stadium on Saturday to condemn Royals to an eighth Championship match without a win.

Stam’s men have also lost five times in that run leaving them 18th in the table and just four points above the relegation zone.

There was no lack of effort from the hosts who saw Liam Kelly hit the bar and Mo Barrow waste a golden opportunity moments before former Royals transfer target Vibe struck at the other end.

And while Stam’s tactics have been widely criticised by fans who suggest Royals need a ‘plan B’, the manager insist there is only so much he can do once his players cross the white line.

“You are not always sticking to the same plan, we are changing tactics to create more opportunities for ourselves,” he explained.

“But you are also asking things of the players to make choices.

“Our passing and decision-making weren’t good enough. We need to anticipate situations a lot better like winning the second ball.

“When you have an opportunity to score you also need to take it. It doesn’t happen, then Brentford come out and score.

“It’s happened a couple of times this season where we don’t take our opportunity then the opposition score.

“It’s something we have worked on and talked about, but it happens and it’s very frustrating.”

Bracknell News:

Reading players rue their luck as Brentford celebrate in the background.

Reading are still searching for their first league goal of 2018 after firing blanks against Brentford, Hull City and Birmingham City.

It is now 292 minutes since they last netted in the Championship when Yann Kermorgant struck in a 1-1 draw at Barnsley on December 30.

Reading’s frustrations were compounded when Barrow fluffed a three-on-one chance to put his side in front seconds before Vibe grabbed the winner for play-off chasing Bees.

Stam groaned: “Before Brentford’s goal we were quite close. You could say, ‘okay, is it the finish, the touch, the pass that we should have done better?’ We hit the crossbar as well, so we weren’t very lucky there, but that’s how it is.

“The opposition have very good players as well and it’s difficult to defend everything.”

Despite Reading’s dramatic slump in form, Stam believes his squad is strong enough to pull away from danger.

But he also admitted confidence is an issue.

Bracknell News:

Jaap Stam tries to get Royals going against Brentford.

“There is enough quality in the team to do better than this,” he declared.

“But everybody knows it’s about making the right choices and having the confidence to step up and change our own game.

“If confidence is high, as you could see with Brentford – they take risks – everything goes automatically and everything is easier than we are finding it now.

“You talk to players about what they need to do, but for some reason they make a different decision.

“Maybe at that point they are not confident enough and that’s how it goes. I know because I’ve experienced it myself.”

Reading are back in FA Cup action this Friday when they travel to Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round (7.45pm ko).