Brian McDermott confident of Reading improvement after disastrous start to season
Reading boss Brian McDermott admitted his players have yet to reach the level of performance he knows they are capable of producing, but is hoping that changes when they travel to QPR in the third round of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.
The Royals have yet to win in the Barclays Premier League this season and sit bottom of the table with just one point.
Tomorrow's opponents QPR are one point and one place above Reading but McDermott is aware his side are yet to hit their straps.
"We are still not at the level I know we have got to get to and we can get to or where we have been in the past," he said.
"We are all aware of it, the players and the staff, and if we can do that and do what we have to do, the results will follow.
"Fundamentally I just think in the last couple of games we haven't done ourselves justice and that is what is galling for me because I know we are better than what we have shown in the last few games.
"The players know it, we all know it and that is something that we work together on starting tomorrow night.
"I just feel that the shape of the team hasn't been right, we need to work on that and we will do that today and tomorrow.
"When we haven't got the ball generally we are as good as anyone in the country, our shape is very good and we have pace on the counter-attack."
McDermott is targeting a decent cup run and believes victory over QPR could give his side a lift ahead of their next league assignment against Newcastle at the weekend.
"It is not a distraction it is another game and after the last two games we need to really get our identity back and what we are as a team and that is important to us so that is what we are aiming to do," he said.
"We have got another game, we are just going to try and win it and get into the next round of the cup and then build up to our next game against Newcastle."
Mali international Jimmy Kebe is set to play some part in the match tomorrow after missing the start of the season due to a hamstring injury.
Experienced striker Jason Roberts is also close to returning to the first-team fold for the first time since the end of the last campaign and McDermott feels his squad has missed the influence of both individuals.
"They are big players for us," he said.
"They were very important players for us last season so we need them back and we are looking forward to getting them back."
McDermott also revealed he is likely to make a number of changes tomorrow as he wants to give members of his squad the chance to push for a regular starting place with the likes of summer signing Adrian Mariappa likely to be involved for the first time this year.
He said: "I will change tomorrow, there will be changes, there are players that need to play. There are shirts up for grabs here.
"Everybody in the squad can play in this division, so there are shirts up for grabs and we can see what happens.
"I would like to think that there are no fringe players here. They are all in the squad and if you are not getting the results you want there is no such thing as a fringe player.
"You want to get into whichever team it is, tomorrow night for example, and then do well and keep the shirt."
A 3-2 win over Peterborough in the second round remains Reading's solitary competitive win so far this season but McDermott believes he knows what needs changing to improve on that meagre record.
"We have to be much more difficult to play against, much more on the front foot than we have been on the last few games," he said.
"We have to be more of a goal threat, we have to defend as a group - that is just basically getting the identity of our team back and that is what this week is about for me."
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