CHRIS Gunter admits Reading FC players deserve every ounce of criticism that has come their way for a string of poor results which has left their Championship status in jeopardy.

Under-pressure boss Jaap Stam took his first-team squad to Spain this week for an intensive training camp in an effort to find a solution to their current problems.

Royals have won just one of their last 12 league games, have lost four of the last five and are four points above the relegation zone.

But Gunter is confident a spot of warm-weather training could be the filip they need.

“It’s been tough out in Spain, but that’s why we’re here,” said Gunter from their training base.

“It’s good to get away and have a change of environment. It allows us to train in better weather than back home so we can put more quality into the sessions. It’s been nice to be away together.”

The Wales international defender added: “I think this will benefit us a lot, that’s why we are doing it. It’s not just an excuse to have four of five days away from home, there is a reason for it.

“Sometimes people outside of football may not fully understand what it’s like when you are on tour or at a training camp for that amount of time.

“But as a professional team it’s sometimes important to do it when you get the chance. That’s why we go away in pre-season and hopefully it will benefit us.

“The main thing is that when we go home our results improve.”

Reading Chronicle:

Jaap Stam shouts instructions at the Riverside in front of Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis during Reading's 2-1 defeat. Picture: Jason Dawson/jasonpix.

Stam and his players have come under fire from disgruntled Reading supporters, many of whom are calling for a change of manager.

And Gunter says the squad must be ready to take the flak.

“We need to keep doing the things we are doing well, but we also need to do other things better.

“That’s what people have been saying and we’re fully aware of that as we haven’t been getting results.

“Even when things are good you can always improve. But there’s no hiding away from the fact we haven’t had the results we wanted.

“Our job is to stay upbeat and look forward, so sometimes getting away to refresh the mind does help somewhat. That’s certainly been the case this week.

“Hopefully when we get home and back to work there will be more of a spring in our step because ultimately we need results.”

Reading have a blank weekend ahead due to Sheffield United’s FA Cup involvement and return to action with a vital clash at Gunter’s former club Nottingham Forest next Tuesday night (7.45pm ko).

Royals sit 18th in the table with Forest one place higher with three more points (35).

Stam’s men then face a tough run against Derby County, Sheffield United and leaders Wolves.

And Gunter views the trip to the City Ground as an opportunity to collect a desperately-needed victory.

“I don’t think they’ve had too many good results of late either,” he stated. “They’re at home and will be wanting to win the game as well.

“But Tuesday is a good chance and when you have a lot of games in a short space of time it’s important you play well and pick up points.”