Tuesday 6 December 2016

McDermott hails Hector as Baggies fans turn on Brunt

Reading 3 West Brom1

Madejski Stadium

Published 21/02/2016 | 02:30

Michael Hector of Reading heads the ball to score his team's second goal Photo: Getty
Michael Hector of Reading heads the ball to score his team's second goal Photo: Getty
West Brom's Saido Berahino in action with Reading's Paul McShane Photo: Reuters
West Brom's Jonny Evans and James Chester in action with Reading's Deniss Rakels Photo: Reuters

Reading manager Brian McDermott praised Michael Hector after the Chelsea loanee helped fire the Royals into the FA Cup quarter-finals.

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The Royals reached the last eight for the fifth time in their history with victory over West Brom yesterday.

Their win was overshadowed after Albion's Chris Brunt was hit in the face by a coin thrown from the visiting supporters' section as he applauded them after the final whistle.

Albion fans were angry after defeat and Brunt had to be led away by Darren Fletcher as he was seen remonstrating with a group of supporters.

Hector scored Reading's second goal after Paul McShane levelled and Lucas Piazon fired in a stoppage-time third following Darren Fletcher's opener.

The 23-year-old Hector joined Chelsea in the summer and was immediately loaned back to Reading for the season.

McDermott said: "He was a Reading player (before the Chelsea move) and got his chance here, he is playing for us.

"He hasn't got one eye on Chelsea in the summer, he has both eyes on Reading. I have spoken to him about playing that (holding central midfielder) role; he can play for Chelsea in that role, I have spoken to them about Michael playing there and they are happy. He was terrific today, he did a really good job and it's good news for him going forward.

"I know where he has come from, every time we asked him to go on loan back in the day he said 'I'll go'. He has been to a lot of places and you have to admire that. He hadn't been playing but we've changed the system and in training he has been terrific."

Reading lost to Arsenal in the semi-finals last season and McDermott felt they merited yesterday's victory.

"I thought we deserved it, we stuck to what we were trying to do," he said. "We're delighted to be in the next round. West Brom know how to win games, they won at Everton last week and Tony (Pulis) has put out a really strong side. It's a great result for us. We're trying to build something special here."

Albion have won just twice in their last 11 games and their misery from defeat and the incident involving Brunt was compounded after Jonny Evans was ruled out for a number of weeks with a hamstring injury.

"We have been very good this year defending set plays but we were poor," said Pulis. "It wrestled away the game from us. We still had two really great chances at the end which we missed but credit to Reading, I hope they get a good draw.

"I picked a good team, a strong team. The disappointing thing is Jonny Evans coming off with a hamstring injury late on, they get their third goal with Jonny off the pitch.

"We scored the goal and just switched off. I have seen the two goals and it is people switching off and not doing their jobs. You can't legislate for that."

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