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KEEPING IT CLEAN

Posted on 5 May 2008  - 12:00

Gus Poyet pinpointed the clean sheet as the key to victory at Reading - despite some of our most impressive attacking play on the road this season at the Madejski Stadium.

Gus Poyet pinpointed the clean sheet as the key to victory at Reading - despite some of our most impressive attacking play on the road this season at the Madejski Stadium.

Saturday's encounter followed a familiar path to recent weeks with us dominating possession and creating a host of chances but only having one goal to show for it.

Robbie Keane's excellent finish put us in front after 16 minutes but that second goal was again elusive - this time, Steed Malbranque's 'goal' was wrongly ruled offside, Marcus Hahnemann denied Keano and Darren Bent and when the keeper was beaten, Darren's shot cracked the inside of the post.

Reading finally hit back late on and Radek Cerny was forced into fine saves from Dave Kitson and Liam Rosenoir inside the last five minutes to preserve the 1-0 lead.

"It was always going to be difficult because of what Reading were playing for but we kept the ball well, created chances and thoroughly deserved the three points," reflected Gus.

"We haven't been able to score a second or third goal in recent weeks but we haven't been able to keep a clean sheet either - this time one of those two happened and it was enough.

"It's difficult at 1-0 because you want to be calm, you want to relax a little but that's impossible because anything could happen in the last few moments. We've looked for the second goal and the third but that's not happened, so it was important to keep a clean sheet. That was the key."

Gus had words of praise for Radek, who punched dangerous crosses away in the first half before producing those vital saves late on.

"Radek was very good," added Gus. "He came for difficult crosses in the first half and made a couple of great saves at the end and that's what you want from a keeper. He had a great game."

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