PAUL Clement is ‘convinced’ Reading FC are ready to turn the corner and start climbing the Championship.

Royals drew 2-2 at home with Stoke City on Saturday and slipped one place in the table down to 21st position.

The only factor keeping Clement’s men out of the relegation zone is goal difference and they are now facing a tough run ahead, with sixth-placed Sheffield United and Middlesbrough in third both set to visit Madejski Stadium before Christmas.

But under-pressure Clement insists his focus remains on improving performances despite just four wins from 20 league games this season and one in the last seven.

“The concern is the position in the league,” he admitted. “We are still not clear of it. My view is that if you string performances together results will follow.

“You can’t say we’ve played poorly in the last two games against Stoke and Leeds. Yes, we picked up one point, but we haven’t played poorly.

“If you continue to play well results will follow and I’m convinced of that. That will be the objective.”

He also insisted: “I don’t think like the media think. I don’t go home and say ‘we’ve won four out of 20’. I don’t say it to the players or Gianluca Nani, I never mention that.

“We work on trying to improve what’s under our control and sooner or later people will be saying to me that we’ve won the last five or six.

“We are still working on performances.”

Reports suggest Reading have already made steps to replace Clement should results continue to disappoint, with former Swansea managers, Carlos Carvalhal and Francesco Guidolin, among those linked with the Royals’ hotseat.

However, it is thought Clement still has the backing of the Reading owners and board and the support of the players.

“Over the last two games you can’t say the players are downing tools or are completely shot of confidence,” he declared.

“They are still trying to play and working hard. It’s a good sign, especially for me.”

Marc McNulty’s last-minute penalty miss at Leeds United denied Royals a point at Elland Road last Tuesday.

McNulty, though, put Reading in front against Stoke on Saturday with his first goal for the club only for Benik Afobe and Tom Ince to nudge the visitors ahead.

However, Mo Barrow came off the bench to equalise in injury-time and Clement was pleased with plenty of aspect of his team’s performance.

He stated: “Maybe we got a bit casual at times. Stoke gave us some time to build from the back and I thought we used the ball really well in the early part of the game.

“At half time I told them not to be casual over their decision making by trying to squeeze the ball through spaces that weren’t there.

“We were trying to get it into Garath McCleary and Danny Loader, but sometimes the opposition stop that and come narrow.

“Then it’s about choices, play it wide, don’t take too long on the ball and move it quickly.

“We didn’t finish the first half strongly or start the second half strongly, but we did finish the game strongly which showed character.”

Reading host Sheffield United this Saturday under the Madejski Stadium floodlights (5.30pm ko).