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Proud Paul Ince hails ‘fantastic day’ as Reading secure safety despite defeat
Hull ran out 3-0 winners over the Royals.
Interim manager Paul Ince expressed deep pride at keeping Reading in the Sky Bet Championship despite suffering a 3-0 defeat at Hull.
The Royals had looked in a perilous position when Ince replaced Veljko Paunovic in February, but they have stayed up with two games remaining as relegation rivals Peterborough lost to Nottingham Forest.
Ince said: “It’s a big one for me – especially the time I’ve been out (of management).
“There were a few eyebrows raised when I came to Reading. Getting what I’ve got out of the players, I’m proud of that.
“I didn’t think we’d be able to turn it around that quickly. From day one, the atmosphere has been great.
“There have been no bad eggs since I came here. They’re all fighting together and you can sense that around the building.
“I’m proud that the supporters can now look forward to another season in the Championship.
“I’m proud of the staff who would have been worrying about their jobs as there would have been redundancies if we’d gone down to League One.
“I’m proud what we’ve achieved for their sake. The common goal was to stay in the Championship – we’ve done that.”
A game that was going nowhere sparked into life by Keane Lewis-Potter’s opportunistic goal after 40 minutes.
Lewis-Potter was given too much time on the left, but his powerful hit from an acute angle gave goalkeeper Orjan Nyland little chance.
Reading were then guilty of further defensive hesitancy when a mix-up off George Honeyman’s free-kick allowed Alfie Jones to poke the ball home from close range.
The visitors conceded a third in stoppage time when Lewis-Potter held his nerve in a one-on-one position following good work from Tom Eaves.
Despite the bad result, Ince said: “Why am I disappointed? Two months ago this club was going down. It baffles me to hear about disappointment.
“I don’t want ‘disappointment’ as a word associated with Reading Football Club today.
“I don’t want any negative vibes. I’m proud that I’ve managed to keep these players in this league.
“It’s a fantastic day – the result doesn’t bother me because it’s gone our way.”
On his long-term position at Reading, Ince added: “I’m sure there’ll be a conversation.
“The club needs to rebuild and there’s lots of things that need to be dealt with – on and off the pitch.
“It’s just nice that the players can get home and breathe and look forward to the Championship next season.
“It’s not all about promotion. Sometimes staying up is as big as going up.”
Hull preserved their Championship safety last weekend, but head coach Shota Arveladze was particularly impressed by his players’ work ethic at both ends of the pitch.
He said: “We have done both sides (to the game) and it’s good credit to the defensive team, and it’s good credit to the offensive team.
“It was a good mix of great supporters, good goals and a good result – you could not wish any more.
“Generally, we have done OK and had the game under control. We scored goals and didn’t give too much away.
“They had half-chances, but we had half-chances as well. We were looking to win and we did that, which is good.
“Their target was to stay in the league and they did not risk much – it is difficult to play in these type of games.
“We now have more time to give the players a rest, to concentrate for the next two games and look forward to them.”
On the future of in-demand Lewis-Potter, Arveladze added: “If we lose him or not we will have to work hard (to replace him).
“It’s great to see the local lad going higher and scoring so much for his club.”