'If you're not at it you get beat by teams like Preston' - Reading boss Paul Ince reacts to defeat to Preston North End

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Reading manager Paul Ince feels his side must be at it or they do not stand a chance in games, after their defeat to Preston North End.

Ched Evans scored twice as the Lilywhites took all three points from the Royals in a 2-1 win, Lucas Joao scoring from the spot for the hosts.

It was the third game in six days for both sides as the gruelling Championship schedule nears its break for the World Cup. Reading still have two more games, going to Watford in midweek.

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Royals boss Ince felt that his side didn’t perform to their best on Friday night and that was why they lost to a side ‘like Preston’, despite his men only registering their first shot on target after 71 mintues – the penalty they scored – and otherwise having one other shot held by Freddie Woodman.

Reading manager Paul InceReading manager Paul Ince
Reading manager Paul Ince

Ince said: “The way we play, we have to be on the front foot, we have to win second balls, we have to win tackles. That's the way we are, we are not fishing from the bottom of the pond. We don't have players with the quality that Watford have to a certain degree.

"When we're at it, like we were against Burnley, you give yourself a chance. When you're not at it, you get beat by teams like Preston. That's no disrespect to Preston.

"We know that we have to be at it or we won't stand a chance, the lads know that.”

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Ince was left feeling aggrieved by the way the game out, feeling that neither side deserved to win the game.

The first half looked like the third game in a short period of time for both sides though quality was sprinkled throughout the second half, such as with Evans’ goals.

The Royals boss thought his side looked destined to win it after they drew level but PNE manager to smash and grab.

He said: “It wasn't an entertaining game, it was a poor game to be fair. There was nothing between the two teams. We looked more tired than they did but you half expect that when you have to play three games in six days.

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"We were at home, our next game at home is in four weeks and we just lacked intensity and tempo. The passing was sloppy unopposed, we didn't win any second balls.

"The first half was probably a poor first half from both teams. I said to the boys at half time that it wasn't acceptable, I don't care, don't start feeling sorry for yourselves. They had to up the intensity and up the tempo but we didn't get to that.

"Only when we got the equaliser did we look like we were going to win the game. At the end of the day, no team deserved to win and no team deserved to lose. A draw was probably the right result.

"They've smashed and grabbed and got away with it. When it's 1-1 you have to take the point and switch on and stay focused, you can't let people run off you, not move out of the way of shots, you have to block shots, and that's what we didn't for the second goal.”