Speaking ahead of Saturday's clash with Millwall, Reading FC interim manager Paul Ince addressed the medio on Thursday afternoon, discussing a range of topics including injury news, defensive frailties, the role of Michael Gilkes and more.

Every word can be read below...

On having a full week with the players on the training ground:

The first five or six days were hectic with the Birmingham game on the Tuesday and the Blackpool game so it was good to get on the ground. We’ve got a lot of things to work on in such a small space of time, one of those being our structure and shape, what we do out of possession and how we can effect teams and get results in possession.

We did a double session on Wednesday, which was great, the lads got a lot out of it. It’s been a good week, I’m feeling very positive this week.

On building some defensive structure as the team continues to leak goals:

Man City do it, Liverpool do it, so if they can do it we can do it. We’ve got to learn to be mentally tough out of possession. Sometimes as soon as we lose the ball we are so out of shape, there’s so many gaps and we get counter attacked and teams look like they’re going to score.

I don’t want the next 12 games that I’m in charge of to be basketball matches where we attack, and they attack. It’ll give me a heat attack. It’s great that we play entertaining football but we’re in a situation where we need to get some wins and we can’t afford to think ‘they attack we attack, we have the strongest attack so we should score more goals’.

We’ve got to put some discipline into them as far as shape when we’re out of possession. If you’re in shape you save so much running, that’s what they don’t fully realise, if you’re in shape you don’t need to be running 30, 40, 50 yards. We’ve had a few hours on the training ground, we’ve got a lot more hours on the training ground to do. It’s good that we’ve got another week before the Nottingham Forest game to do some more and then international break after Blackburn to do some more.

I don’t want to stop the other side of the game where we do get it we need to attack teams and try to win the game. We know where we are, we know it’s going to be tough, we know it’s going to go to the wire, things are going to change every week, that’s going to happen but we need to make sure we’re mentally tough, mentally disciplined in our shape as we know from an attacking point of view that we can score goals.

On Scott Dann's injury recovery:

He’s been training this week, he trained last week, obviously he hasn’t played for six-seven weeks now but he’s coming back into the frame which is a big bonus for us. He’s so important for us not just in the way he plays but in his leadership qualities and he knows the game. He might be ok for the bench on Saturday but he’s pushing for a start that’s for sure maybe next week or the week after so that’s good news.

On Tom Holmes' injury recovery:

Tom Holmes trained today so he looks ok. We weren’t sure if he was going to train but he trained a full session today, looked good and sharp so he’ll be in contention for Saturday.

On Josh Lauren't injury recovery:

We’ve got the be careful with Josh. I’m gauged by the physio and the sports so they tell me when he’s to be ready and when he’s not to be ready- something I’m not really used to. If somebody had said to me I couldn’t play because of this or that I’d have said ‘sod that I’m playing.

But now you’ve got to speak to all these people first and make sure Josh is 100% ready to play because he’s a fantastic player and watching him out doing running today, he’s strong and powerful, someone you need in the middle of the park, but he’s a bit of a way off yet so two or three weeks probably.

On not having the experience of Liam Moore:

I don’t know Liam Moore, apparently, he was the captain and a good player but we cant talk about people who are not here at the moment, we need to talk about us all pulling together to try and keep this team in the league, Liam Moore isn’t going to do that, but Scott Dann will, Tom Holmes with and Josh Laurent will.

On bringing in free agents:

It’s tough. It’s tough for everyone because of the embargo and where we are. You’re looking at players on a free and the players you’re looking at on a free haven’t played for eight/nine months so it can take two months to get them to where you want them to be and the season is already over. It might be a case of this is what we’ve got, this is good enough if we do things right in the right way, and that’s it. If something jumps out at us then great but there’s nothing jumping out.

On his management style:

Football is easy. It’s just demands and standards. I’ve come here and things had obviously slipped in the club. I’m not a manager who rules by an iron fist, I’m actually quite calm and passive. But if I do lose it they know I’ve lost it, but I do it very rarely. We have demands and we have standards and if you don’t then you won’t be in this league. We’ve got what we’ve got.

I’m not here to change the way Reading play, they play good football from what I’ve seen, but from a defensive point of view you’ve got to have a balance of both and if you get that we’ll stay up. If you start looking toward next season, which I’m not, that’s when you start implementing what you want to implement, at the moment it’s 12 games, it’s going to be a fight, it’s going to be tough, we’ve got to dig in, win our tackles, win our headers, and show our talent when we can- and that’s it, there’s not much more we can do about it.

On his relationship with assistant manager Alex Rae:

I love Alex. We played together at Wolves. When I left Middlesbrough, David Jones rang me and said, ‘Do you fancy coming to Wolves’ in 2002 I’m driving down to Wolves and thinking ‘who do I know there’. I remembered Alex Rae was there and thought ‘I f****** hate Alex Rae’ Mouthy, Scottish, just didn’t like him at all and then I got there, and we gelled, we played in midfield together and he’s one of my best mates now.

He’s loyal and he’s good at what he does. He’s great with the lads, the lads love him. You can see the change in the players, in the environment and they seem a lot chirpier, but you need the results to keep that going.

On motivatng players with expiring contracts:

I know there’s a certain number of players out of contract, I don’t know who they are but that’s not my priority. My priority and motivation is that no player or manager wants relegation on their CV. I got relegated at Wolves and West Ham so I know what it feels like and it’s not a nice feeling.

Whether some of these players are going to be here or not, they’re still under contract at Reading Football Club and they’ve still got a job to do. There’s going to be some players here next year that are playing this year, and their motivation, whether they leave the club or stay at the club, should be other people.

There are fans who want to be playing Championship football next season, look at the training ground it’s a fantastic facility. Going down effects so many people. We’ve made a rod for our own back where we are now, fourth from bottom.

It’s tough to change these things around but if we can all pull together and be motivated, that’s the message I’m trying to put out because it affects the fans, so many people in Reading and we don’t want it to happen. I want to walk away from here knowing we’ve all done the best possible job we can do and that’s got to be the motivation.

On staying away from the ‘noise’ of the points deduction/transfer embargo/etc:

You hear all the noise about this and that. I’m not here for that. We’ve got eight weeks left of the season, we’ve got a job to do. And we’re going to try and do it to the best of our ability and hopefully we’ll do that.

On following other team’s results:

People always lie and say ‘oh I go and play golf, I’m not interested in what happens’ but of course you’re going to watch the results. That’s part of where we are. Every time Derby lose or Barnsley or Peterborough it’s another lift for us. 

There’s going to chops and changes, there’s going to be emotions, there’s going to be different types of emotions. We might lose and Derby and Barnsley might win and all of a sudden it’s three points or five points. It’s an emotional roller-coaster at the moment. So you look at the results, of course you do.

If we can get a couple of wins it might bring Hull into it, it might bring Cardiff into it, it might bring Birmingham into it. You don’t know. People see the bottom four and think it’s between them four but no, if we can string a couple of results together it changes the dynamics. We’ve got to get results, we’ve got to get wins. You can do your numbers and think we’ve got to get three or four wins and they have to get six or seven - and that’s quite a lot. But we’ve got to get four in the first place, we’ve got to get one in the first place.

Derby will be looking at our results, Peterborough will be looking at our results and so will Barnsley. But it’s what we do. We’re in a situation where we control this - it’s what we do that matters.

We’ve got some tough games coming up. Forest away, Bournemouth away on the Tuesday, and Blackburn. Those are three tough games. I know they’re all tough games in the Championship but when you’re limited in numbers and trying to get people back…it’s not the greatest situation. But we’re fighting, we’re ready to go.

On if it could be advantageous that he hasn’t managed for eight years:

Maybe so. Like I said, you don’t forget how to ride a bike. I’ve not ridden a bike for ten years but I can still get on a bike and ride it. It’s no different. The game’s changed but has it changed that drastically? It’s still four corner flags, two goals, the pitch hasn’t changed. And the players are no different to the players I’ve managed before.

In the Premier Legaue it might be a bit different, but Championship football…the players are the same. It’s not hard. Football’s quite easy to be fair. It’s getting the players motivated, structure, you don’t forget how to do these things.

At United under Fergie we just went out and played. But we played in a structure with discipline. This is the same, it hasn’t changed. I don’t know why people say ‘well eight years is a long time.’ I get that but I’m not 94, I’m 54. I’m not a dinosaur. It’s not like I’m coming back and suddenly the pitch is 200 yards wide. There’s nothing that’s drastically changed.

We’re in a situation here where we’ve come in at the time where we need to come in. I’ve been at Macclesfield and kept them up, been at Notts County. Teams like that where it’s been tough and needed a change and needed a kickstart. So for me, that’s not a problem. People make it a problem but it’s not a problem.

On managing his son:

We’re used to it now. He was at Blackpool when I was managing at Blackpool, I took him to Notts County and now he’s here. He understands that when we walk through those gates, I’m his manager his gaffer. And then we walk out I’m his dad. That’s always how it’s been.

He doesn’t get any privileges, that’s for sure. Sometimes I’m probably even harder on him than I would be on most because you don’t want people to think there’s any favouritism going on. I’m not like that. As far as I’m concerned, he’s one of the players. If he doesn’t do his job, he doesn’t perform, I’ll tell him. But then when we’re out of the gates we’re back to father and son.

On the role of Michael Gilkes:

We ain’t just going to keep this club up, everyone is going to keep this club up. We’ve all got to have hands to the pump and Gilkseys been great. He knows the club, he knows the people, he knows the fans. He gave me good insight about the support of the fans. They’re not fans where they’re going to be on your case, they support you. And he’s good at what he does. He’s part of the coaching staff, he does sessions, the lads love him. Same with Ledgerwood, he’s amazing. I love them both.

It’s a team thing. I’m obviously in charge of the ship but it’s a team thing. That’s why we’ve got Alex in, Colin Cooper came in for a couple of days as another coach. And that’s what’s going to help us stay up.

On the importance of the fans:

The fans are going to be our 12th man. You only want fans who understand the situation we’re in and I think the Reading fans see that. They want us to succeed, they want us to do well. They understand how tough it is at this moment in time. They understand the politics behind it, the embargo - we can’t get the player we want to get in. We’re not like a manager who can come in and go ‘right, I want four or five players’ and change it the way we want to change it. That’s not the case. This is 12 games left, we saw against Birmingham, when you need to hold on they (the fans) are still supportive, when you go a goal down they’re still supportive. Because that’s important for the players - to know they’ve got the fans on their side.

There were times we rode our luck against Birmingham. But even the Blackpool game, up until 86 minutes we were in the game. It wasn’t until the last five minutes when we go to try and win it, we end up losing 4-1. As their manager said, Neil Critchley, the result kind of flattered them to a certain degree.

Being back at home, being in front of our fans, could be the way for us to stya in this league. The atmosphere was great and we’re looking forward to it. We believe we can win home and away. But it’s nice to be back at home and we need a bounce-back.

On seeing the defensive mentality shifting:

You talk about ball-players and Kevin De Bruyne is a ball-plauer so is Mane and Salah but you see the work they do. You have to be able to do both sides of things, that’s the most successful teams. I’ve watched games and people say we play entertaining football…is getting beat 7-0 at home to Fulham entertaining? Losing 4-3? There has to be some structure to everything you do. 

They will work but if they’re not told to work then they won’t work. It’s not just about having the ball. You’ve got to think about it: we do actually have a strong team. You get Josh (Laurent) back and Andy (Rinomhota) and Drinks (Drinkwater). We’ve got a strong strong team. Scott Dann coming back, Tom Holmes.

In the Championship you have to be strong, you can’t be soft. You have to be strong. And then we have to use our flair, our skill players at the end of it. It’s as simple as that. We’re seeing signs of that. You’ve got to put demands on them because if you don’t then they think they can get away with it. So you’ve got to put demands on them and to be fair to the lads they’re responding to it very well.

On Karl Hein:

I think according to Matt (physio) he had surgery yesterday. They’re talking seven weeks. Which is a blow.

On whether Hein will stay with the team:

I wouldn’t know, I’ll have to speak to Matt. Obviously since he’s on loan from Arsenal, Arsenal will take care of him. Matt the physio will know more than me whether it’s seven or eight weeks but that’s more or less the rest of the season. Which is a blow really because he’s done well, the kid. But listen, we got with what we’ve got. Luke’s got enough experience, he’s played 21 times this year. So we go with what we’ve got.

On whether he’s received clarification of if he’s staying for the rest of the season:

They’ve asked me to come in and help, I’m still here! That’s always good! I’m just looking at that. I’m not bothered about how long I’m going to be here, this season or next season. I don’t care. My focus is trying to keep this club up with these players we’ve got. That’s solely my focus.