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Matt Mills opens up on the Brian McDermott factor that led him to be a success with Reading FC



Former Reading defender Matt Mills has opened up on Brian McDermott’s qualities as a manager during his spell with the Royals and believes he was a class act. 

McDermott took over from Brendan Rogers midway through the 2009/10 season in what was Mills’ first season with the Royals since his move from Doncaster Rovers. He initially managed to guide the Royals to a ninth-place finish in the Championship and to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup during the first six months of his tenure. 

The following season, McDermott led Reading all the way to the Championship play-off final where they were beaten 4-2 in a dramatic final by Swansea City.

However, that did not take away from the work that had been done during the campaign as the Royals had managed to pick up 77 points in the league and claimed a fifth-place finish.  

Mills did score in the play-off final defeat against Swansea, but he would leave the Royals the following summer to sign for the ambitious Leicester City. During the defender’s first season with the Foxes, Reading actually went on to secure promotion to the Premier League under McDermott. 

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Speaking to Under the Cosh’s YouTube channel, Mills revealed that McDermott’s man-management skills and ability to play the way that suited the Royals played a major part in his success.

He said: “He had a great coach, Nigel Gibbs who would do all the sessions, and he was like a man manager, you’d done the warm-up, you’d done boxes and then he just kinda comes out the office and just walks (over to the players).

“He’s one of those, just a man manager, it’s like what do you need, and if you’re running 100 meters and it takes you 50 seconds, if you’re gonna run the 100 meters and you’ve got ten hurdles in front of you that’s gonna take you a 1 minute and 50 (seconds), what Brian was class at, he just removed the hurdles, he was just like if that’s an obstacle get it out of the way let him run because he’s a good player and he just was class at doing that.

“We had good players to play a certain way, and to me if you’re a manager say if you go and get a job somewhere tomorrow, you’ve got this philosophy that you’ve been working on but then you turn up and you’re thinking players can’t to this.

“For me a good manager goes, right what have I got, over time you might try and get to that, but at the time you have to go what have I got, because football’s a results game right. If you’ve got him upfront you ain’t gonna ask him to keep coming short, you’re gonna ask to get the ball wide and get it in the box, he’s massive he’s gonna wins his headers and score loads of goals. 

“You’re not gonna ask him to what Sterling does, it ain’t gonna happen, so you need to play a way, and if over time you wanna play that Sterling way you end up probably going and you sign somebody who can do it. 

“That’s what Brian did, he looked at the players he’d got and went right Jobi McAnuff, Jimmy Kebe get the ball wide leave them one-v-one just run at the full-back cross the ball. Easy.”

The verdict 

From these comments, it does seem as though McDermott managed to really win over the dressing room during his spell in charge of Reading when he first took over. He was able to translate that into the success of a promotion campaign from the Championship and that is something that the club have failed to emulate since they dropped back down to the English second tier in 2013. 

McDermott should be remembered more for his first spell in charge than his second spell and you can see why he is so highly regarded by Mills here. There is not doubt that he is one of the best managers that the Royals have had for a number of years and they have not been able to find someone to do a similar job that he did since he left the first time around.

You would have to agree that McDermott was able to find the best approach to getting the maximum out of his Reading squad at the time. In their promotion season, they were the division’s standout side when they hit that major purple patch in form and they were a very exciting team to watch.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Matt Mills opens up on the Brian McDermott factor that led him to be a success with Reading FC

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