Brian McDermott says Reading are focused on winning, not entertaining

Promoted side four points adrift of safety

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The Independent Football

Brian McDermott would happily sacrifice entertainment in favour of a winning run that lifts Reading out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

A vital match awaits at St Mary's on Saturday when the Royals, who are four points adrift of safety, will attempt to supplant fellow strugglers Southampton in 18th place.

Three successive defeats has added a sense of urgency and McDermott accepts that contributing to crowd-pleasing spectacles - such as Saturday's 4-3 loss to Manchester United - is no substitute for winning.

"The players, the manager, the staff, the fans and my mum would take any type of win," said the Reading manager.

"The Man Utd match was great for our fans and we've had some fantastic games at Madejski Stadium with lots of goals which is really entertaining, but our fans want results as well. That's what we're in the business for.

"It's possible to take satisfaction from matching a team like Manchester United - look at the finances and budgets we're up against. But myself and the players want to win.

"In the dressing room after Man Utd we didn't say we 'well we scored three goals', we said 'we lost the game'. There was satisfaction after we beat Everton.

"I'm doing the best I possibly can every day, as are the players. The fans are staying with us, which is really important. We're trying to win games.

"I'm absolutely 100 per cent behind the players that we have, I know they can do it, they've proved it in the past.

"We just need a little change, a little bit of something that can make the difference. Then it will come, I'm convinced about it.

"Not winning is embarrassing and you want to win for the fans and that's what we're trying to do.

"The best feeling in the world is when you go to your supporters at the end of an away game having won."

Pavel Pogrebnyak is a doubt against Southampton after sustaining an unspecified injury playing for the reserves, while no date is being set for goalkeeper Alex McCarthy's return from shoulder surgery.

"We don't want to put a time frame on Alex except to say it will be a long time," said McDermott.

McDermott is cagey over Reading's potential transfer activity during the January window, but did reveal he is targeting seasoned Premier League campaigners.

"We need players who have played at this level and know the league. If we can get one or two players who know the league off by heart it's good because they can hit the ground running," he said.

"We have two or three targets and if the budget's there, it's there and we have to wait. I'm involved in that decision-making process, but it comes down to finances.

"There could be a loan, but I only like to sign loan players that we might actually buy permanently.

"I've got my eye on a couple of players, but we're still a way away. January is never an easy window to deal in."

The players' Christmas party will not be generating any unwelcome headlines after McDermott revealed it passed without incident.

"We're very clever at our club, we do it really early so that no one knows about it. It's done and dusted," he said.

"It's a very low key affair at this club and we've never really had a problem.

"My players conduct themselves really well. They had a party and a meal. It was done and dusted a little while ago."