06:40PM, Tuesday 16 May 2017
Reading manager Jaap Stam has called on his players to write their place in history by progressing past Fulham into the Championship play-off final.
The semi-final tie is on a knife edge after the Royals drew 1-1 at Craven Cottage on Saturday evening, Jordan Obita firing the visitors in front before Tom Cairney drew Fulham level following a rare error by Ali Al-Habsi.
Captain Paul McShane was shown a red card in the final minutes for a poorly-timed tackle on Kevin McDonald – ruling him out for the rest of the season – however, Stam’s men held on meaning it’s all to play for in tonight’s second leg at the Madejski Stadium.
The winner of tonight's tie will face either Sheffield Wednesday or Huddersfield Town at Wembley in the play-off final on Monday, May 29.
“In these games, it’s all about mentality,” Stam told the club website.
“That goes alongside the ability of the players as well, but you need have a certain mentality to win these games and do well.
“You need to give everything – there’s no other opportunity. In these games you need to show it and you need to do it. We’ve been working all season to get here. The players realise that and they know what to do.
“As a player, it is all about these games. You want to play big games, interesting games. You want to win trophies and go to the highest leagues. You can write history. Reading have never made it to the Premier League through the play-offs, so this would be a nice touch.
“We’re very eager and happy to have the opportunity to play this game. Hopefully we can decide it in our favour.
"We’ll have a partisan home backing – make sure you play your part. In every circumstance, make sure you do you bit for the team from beginning to end.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Stam continued.
“People might think that because we’re at home then we should do it – it doesn’t work like that. We’ve still facing a very good team.
“We’ve got the home advantage and over 20,000 Reading fans cheering in favour of us – that needs to help us out.
“Hopefully we can all bring the same level of performance from the first leg, or a bit more.”
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