Brian McDermott revels in Reading spirit following incredible comeback

Royals came from 2-0 down to beat West Brom

Reading manager Brian McDermott hailed the “phenomenal character, desire and resilience” of his side after they scored three goals in the last nine minutes to beat West Brom 3-2 on Saturday.

Romelu Lukaku's double had put the Baggies in control before Jimmy Kebe, Adam le Fondre and Pavel Pogrebnyak all scored for the Royals.

"It was a struggle today. We had to stay in the game and they didn't get the third goal, which would have finished the game off," McDermott said.

"If you get a goal back, anything can happen. We have been 4-0 up and lost 7-5 this season. We have been on the wrong end of some high scorelines. Today we are on the right end and I am happy."

Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez believes he has seen an improvement since taking over from Roberto Di Matteo in November.

The Spaniard has seen his side suffer back-to-back home defeats but he believes results like the weekend's 4-0 win at Stoke shows they are heading in the right direction.

"We cannot every week be thinking crisis, not crisis. We're scoring more goals than in the past, we're conceding half of the goals that the team has conceded in the past," he said.

"That means we have more balance and that is the way to sustain the performance of the team at this level."

Aston Villa boss hit out at referee Mark Halsey for awarding the penalty which condemned his side to a 1-0 defeat to Southampton at Villa Park.

Rickie Lambert converted after Jay Rodriguez went down in the area, but replays indicated that Villa defender Enda Stevens made no contact with the Saints forward.

Lambert said: "I've seen the penalty loads of times. I've had a chat with Mark (Halsey) after the game. He was adamant he was 100% right - and he has guessed.

"It was never a penalty, never, nowhere near it. Was it cheating (by Rodriguez)? Listen, I'm not going to get involved in calling someone a cheat.

"From our point of view Mark has got it wrong. He'll be totally embarrassed by it. It is nowhere near a penalty."

QPR boss Harry Redknapp is looking to make additions to his squad despite their 0-0 draw with his old club Tottenham.

When asked if current form could mean he does not spend in the January transfer window, Redknapp said: "I think if you think that is going to happen we would have a rude awakening at the end of the year.

"We need to strengthen the squad, we are short in certain areas. When there are games you have to open up and try and win we have to try and improve for sure."

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is also on the lookout for new players after centre back James Collins tore his hamstring in their 3-0 loss at Sunderland.

"The big blow for me is not having enough defenders at the moment," he said. "I am really going to have to go and try to strengthen that area in the next few days."

Elsewhere on Saturday, Fulham drew 1-1 with Wigan, Norwich drew 0-0 with Newcastle, while Everton and Swansea also played out a goalless draw.

PA

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