Football: Reading equipped to handle Championship play-off final pressure, says boss Stam

Stam has already committed to staying at Reading regardless of Monday's result
Stam has already committed to staying at Reading regardless of Monday's resultPHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Reading can draw on the experience of being involved in plenty of high pressure situations to overcome Huddersfield Town in Monday's Championship play-off final and secure an English Premier League berth, manager Jaap Stam has said.

Reading won several tough games in the Championship, including against Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United, to finish third, and defeated an in-form Fulham on penalties to reach the play-off finals.

"I think they have learnt throughout the season, they have made progress... and we have had several games where we needed to do it and needed to win and they have done it," Stam said.

Reading played one of their biggest games of the campaign in front of more than 74,000 spectators at Manchester United in the FA Cup and Stam believes his team benefited from the contest despite losing 4-0.

"We have learnt from the experience at Old Trafford: a big game, big occasion, great pitch and a different atmosphere," Stam said.

"The first half we did not play how we could play, some players froze a little bit. Players learn from that, having the belief that they are allowed to make mistakes."

Stam has already committed to staying at Reading regardless of Monday's result but Huddersfield manager David Wagner remains less certain about his future.

"I think this game can decide all of our futures," he said. "But it makes no sense to think about that now. I haven't really thought about my future because it's a waste of energy. It makes total sense to think only about Reading."

Huddersfield, three-time English champions consecutively from 1924 to 1926, have not played in the top flight since relegation in 1972, while Reading have spent three seasons in the Premier League, the last in 2012-13.