Wokingham Today

Mannone counts the positives following Fulham defeat

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Fulham 1

Reading 0

VITO MANNONE says Reading can take confidence from pushing a Fulham side who moved up to second with victory at Craven Cottage.

The Royals started brightly but fell behind to Stefan Johansen’s 25th minute strike and the home side saw out the narrow victory, which leaves Paul Clement’s men just five points clear of the bottom three.

But Mannone says there is plenty of good to take forwards into Saturday’s huge clash with fellow relegation-threatened Sunderland at Madejski Stadium (3pm).

“We started well,” said the Reading goalkeeper.

“We were putting Fulham under pressure and I thought we had a couple of chances we should have maybe scored.

“But we kept going and we kept the shape. I thought we did alright until the goal.

“Unfortunat­ely one little lapse in concentrat­ion and you concede and after that it’s a difficult game.

“It was good not to concede again and keep positive and focus on a massive game on Saturday, which is another final.

“The supporters helped us at Fulham. They came in numbers and we need them at home again because Sunderland are a team in and around us so it’s a massive chance for us.”

Clement made just one change from the side which beat Preston on Saturday with Dave Edwards replacing John Swift in midfield having served a one-match suspension.

And Reading nearly took a shock lead when Jon Dadi Bodvarsson burst through, but his shot was hacked off the line by defender Tim Ream.

Royals carved out an even better opportunit­y shortly afterwards when Bodvarsson’s low cross found Mo Barrow, but he got his shot all wrong before Edwards’ follow-up was blocked.

The misses proved costly as Fulham got their noses in front midway through the half when Matt Targett whipped a ball into the sixyard box, which Johansen tucked in.

That seemed to give Fulham a boost with Aleksandar Mitrovic heading wide while in the second half Johansen wasted a good chance to double his tally.

Clement threw on both Chris Martin and Yann Kermorgant to boost the front-line, but the hosts looked to profit on the counter, only for Mitrovic and Neeskens Kebano to waste good chances.

Any late Reading hopes were dashed when Leandro Bacuna was shown a straight red card in stoppage time for a lunge on Ryan Sessegnon, which will see the Curacao internatio­nal banned for the next three matches.

“We weren’t far off,” said Mannone.

“Fulham are a team that will probably get promoted.

“We are training really hard, we are improving and we need to just focus on the positives.

“There’s been a lot of positives in the last four games since the manager came in.

“It’s good that we got two wins at home and we need to aim for another one on Saturday.”

READING: Mannone, Gunter (c), Moore, Ilori, Richards (Martin

75), Kelly, Bacuna, Edwards (Swift 58), Aluko, Barrow, Bodvarsson (Kermorgant 69).

Subs not used: Jaakkola, Holmes, van den Berg, Clement.

Yellow card: Richards (33)

Red card: Bacuna (90+3) FULHAM: Bettinelli, Fredericks, Odoi, Ream, Targett, Cairney, McDonald, Johansen (Norwood 89), Piazon (Kebano 80), Sessegnon, Mitrovic. Subs not used: Button, Kalas, Christie, Kamara, Fonte.

Goal: Johansen (25)

Yellow card: Targett (60)

Referee: Lee Mason

Attendance: 19,272

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