READING FC boss Jose Gomes admitted his players struggled to cope with strong winds at Stoke City in their 0-0 stalemate at the weekend.

Both teams were forced to deal with difficult playing conditions at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

The lively breeze and heavy downpour caused the ball to move throughout the 90 minutes in a game of limited chances.

The Potters who arguably adapted better after seeing Tom Ince and Sam Vokes both hit the woodwork in the first half.

But Reading almost nicked it at the death when Yakou Meite fired inches wide of the Stoke City goal.

Reading Chronicle:

A soaked Jose Gomes applauds the Reading FC fans at bet365 Stadium. Pictures: Jasonpix.

The draw means Royals are one point above the relegation zone heading into a fortnight’s international break.

When they come back, they will have eight more fixtures with which to secure their Championship status.

Gomes stated: “It was a difficult game for both teams regarding the weather conditions. Considering Stoke created some situations in the beginning and we created some in the end, it was a fair result.

“Regarding everything I said with the weather, I didn’t like the game, it wasn’t a beautiful game, but it was the possible game considering the weather.

“In that wind it was difficult to play. The ball moves on its own even if you don’t touch it. It’s difficult and I don’t know if you can realise it from the stands, it’s very difficult for the players to play.

“It’s not an excuse, we are under pressure. I would like my players to play better football, beautiful football, but in the position we are in, we have to bear in mind that we just cannot lose – and we didn’t.

“Sometimes that spirit damaged the quality of our offensive movements. But we tried to win the challenges and we won most of them.

“It wasn’t a very positive game but it was a positive point. We need a lot of points before we will feel really safe in the table, so the fight will go on.”

Reading Chronicle:

Tempers flare during Saturday's 0-0 stalemate.

Reading have been hit with a glut of injuries recently and Gomes was missing three main strikers on Saturday with Nelson Oliveira, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Sam Baldock all missing.

Midfielders Andy Rinomhota, Ovie Ejaria and Saeid Ezatolahi are also unavailable, meaning 17-year-old Michael Olise was handed his full debut in the clash against Stoke.

But Reading dug in and showed real grit to keep a first clean sheet in seven matches.

“All their team caused us problems, added Gomes. “You cannot forget they had a lot of Premier League players and it wasn’t only one player that created problems. Stoke as a team created problems.

“It was important to get a clean sheet. We tried to get the three points but it was a difficult fixture. It was important that we achieved at least a point.

“We are more disappointed than happy because we want to get away from danger as quickly as possible.

“We know that if we draw all the games we have left, that might not be enough. We need to win.”

Reading face a critical week when they return from the international break with a home fixture against Preston North End on March 30 followed by trips to Nigel Adkins’ Hull City then leaders Norwich City.