McDermott backing rock-bottom Reading to beat history and avoid the drop
22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012
Brian McDermott is ignoring that old statistic about the fate awaiting the Premier League's bottom club at Christmas, and will instead focus on some altogether more positive facts and figures to kickstart Reading's bid for survival.
West Brom remain the only team in the Premier League era to stay up after being in Reading's current position, but McDermott has told his players to use their success in winning promotion against all the odds last season as a source of inspiration.
They were 16th in the Championship table in November, and trailed pacesetters Southampton and West Ham by huge margins before winning 15 of the last 17 games to finish top of the table.
We can do it: Brian McDermott says Reading can still survive
Another Herculean effort is required in the second half of this season after Reading suffered a seventh successive defeat at Manchester City on Saturday. But McDermott remains optimistic they can do it again as he prepares to face Swansea at the Madejski Stadium on Boxing Day.
Asked about the gloomy Christmas statistic, he replied: 'West Brom have done it, so it is doable.
'My view on that is that if you're 20 points off the lead, which we were at one point last season, and then go and win it I'm not sure anyone has done that before.
'It's a decent stat. We were loads and loads of points behind West Ham and Southampton and still managed to win the league. So it shows what this team can do.
Foul Barry clambered over Nicky Shorey as he scored for City
Record of Premier League's bottom club at Christmas
'Our players are winners. They were
champions last season in the Championship. The year before that they got
to the Playoff Final. The year before we were in a relegation spot and
won loads of games.
I've found with our players is that they are incredibly resilient. What
I've found about myself is that I'm incredibly resilient.' McDermott and
his players must pick themselves up after Gareth Barry broke their
hearts with a winner in the second minute of added time at the Etihad
Reading were furious that referee Mike Dean did not rule the goal out for a push on Nicky Shorey.
But once the anger subsided, McDermott was able to draw some positives from a fine performance against the Premier League champions.
'We're in a results business, ' he added. 'We're confident with 20 games to go that if we play like that we can get results.
'I've not had one in the last seven games but, results wise, my record in the last two-and-a-half years has been good.'