PAUL Clement accused his Reading FC players of failing to carry out basic instructions in their lamentable 4-0 defeat to Ipswich Town.

Relegation-threatened Royals shipped four goals in the last 20 minutes on Saturday in their heaviest home defeat since October 2006.

Clement’s men were well in the game and spurned a number of chances before Martyn Waghorn broke the deadlock and Jordan Spence, Freddie Sears and Callum Connolly rubbed salt into Royals wounds.

And the Reading manager did not pull his punches when it came to assessing his team’s shambolic display in the last home game of the season.

“I didn’t sense any complacency before the game,” he explained. “I trained with 24 outfield players and two goalkeepers the other day and it’s difficult to know what everyone is thinking.

“But I felt our preparation was thorough like it always is, but then there’s the game itself.

“It’s the players’ responsibility to manage the game when they are out there. They know their instructions, which are always clear, and it’s their job to go out there and deliver individually and as a team. They didn’t.”

John Swift almost put Reading in front when he was denied by a stunning save from Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski in the 69th minute after Sone Aluko and Mo Barrow had already gone close.

Reading Chronicle:

John Swift cannot believe his bad luck after being denied an opener by Ipswich keeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

But Ipswich made Clement’s men pay with a four-goal blitz that left the home fans stunned.

“How many chances we missed doesn’t really mean anything because it’s a 90-minute game and the outcome is all that matters,” added Clement.

“We flattered a bit but we had no real cutting edge. Some of our shooting and finishing from good positions was flimsy.

“In the end, the defending was also flimsy. We were absolutely fragile.”

Clement brushed off suggestion Royals lacked leaders on the pitch on a day when a draw would have been enough to secure their Championship status next season and banish their relegation fears.

Royals are now just two points above the drop zone and need to avoid defeat at second-placed Cardiff City this Sunday (12.30pm ko, live Sky Sport) or they will be relying on Birmingham, Barnsley and Burton’s results to keep them up.

“It’s easy to say that,” stated Clement. “I prefer to look back at the video and look at our positioning and decision making.

“All of the first three goals could have been dealt with by good, defensive positioning, all of them.”

Reading Chronicle:

Ipswich Town players and fans celebrate at the Madejski Stadium.

And he stressed: “Professional football is a hard job. There aren’t many jobs where you go out there and someone else is trying to stop you doing your job.

“Imagine trying to type on a computer with someone dragging your hand away. That’s professional sport, you’re up against another person and team who wants it.

“But it’s a fantastic job compared to a lot and you get well rewarded for it.”