Royal Approval

ARGYLE manager Derek Adams was magnanimous in defeat as the Pilgrims exited the EFL Cup following a 2-0 defeat by Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday.

The two-division difference between the sides was too much for Sky Bet League Two Argyle to bridge as first-half goals from Dutchmen Joey van den Berg and Roy Beerens knocked the Pilgrims out of the competition in the first-round encounter.

“Reading played very well tonight,” said Derek. “They are a top Championship team and thoroughly deserved to win the match. 

“The movement from Reading was excellent. They passed the ball well; they did that on Saturday to Preston so we knew that was going to be the case. It is difficult because of the level we are at and the level they are at.

“Because they pass the ball and move, you are never going to get close. They use the goalkeeper well; they use the centre-halves well; they are a good all-round team. Sometimes you just have to say that the other team are much better than you.”

Derek was encouraged by his team’s resilience and believes the Pilgrims who had to work hard against the quick and fluid movement of their hosts will have benefited from the experience.

He said: “The players will look at how good a team [Reading] are and the players they have come up against. To get to this level, you have to be a top player and all the players at our club are striving to get there.

“In the second half, we got to grips with it, we created a good number of chances, and we were probably unlucky not to have scored. We were in and around their penalty area more than we were in the first half.

“We finished strongly to the game. We looked, fitness-wise, very well. In the last 15-20 minutes, the chances we created were a lot better and I was pleased with that.

“If we had scored the next goal, we would have put them under a wee bit of pressure. The fitness levels were excellent because we have had to do a lot of running tonight. We went to 90 minutes and looked strong finishing the game.”

The Argyle starting 11 showed four changes from the one that began Saturday’s league match against Luton. Jordan Slew and David Fox made a first start for the club, while Connor Smith became the tenth Pilgrim to make his debut this season when he came on as a second-half substitute. 

Derek said: “It is always going to take time, but you can see they are gelling together well. They are getting to know each other and you can see the understanding they have together on the pitch – they way they shut down Reading was very good. We had to be.
“You learn all the time and, when you have taken in the players that we have had to take in over the summer, it is about getting them blending in. They are gelling really well just now.”