McDermott praises Wenger record

  • Last Updated: October 29 2012, 19:57 GMT

Reading boss Brian McDermott has played down the significance of Arsenal's trophy drought as he plotted to extend it in his first meeting with his former club on Tuesday night.

Brian McDermott: We'll do our best to progress

Former Gunners midfielder McDermott hailed opposite number Arsene Wenger's "phenomenal achievement" of leading the club into the Champions League for 15 consecutive seasons, backing the Frenchman's claim it was the equivalent of winning silverware.

The latter is something Arsenal have not done in what has been seven increasingly-agonising years, a run McDermott was determined to lengthen in their Capital One Cup fourth-round clash on Tuesday night.

"We'll do our best to progress," he said.

"We'll plan, we'll prepare, and then we'll see what the game brings."

Wenger and the Arsenal board have come under fire for the club's lack of tangible success, with their own fans become increasingly restless.

But McDermott said: "The big thing for the top teams is to qualify for the Champions League and Arsene Wenger's done that over the last - what - 14 years.

"In his early years, he won so many trophies.

"I'm sure they want to win trophies - of course they do - but they always qualify for the Champions League, which is a phenomenal achievement in itself."

McDermott, who started his playing career at Arsenal in 1977, has never faced them since leaving the club in 1984.

"It's my first time as a first-team manager playing against them," he said.

"I really had a good time there and the way they do things there and the way they conduct themselves, the word I'd use is class - they've got a real class about them.

"I'm looking forward to it, really looking forward to it.

"I was lucky, really, to be brought up at a fantastic club like that."

Unlike Arsenal, the Royals have had their fair share of silverware in the past seven years, twice winning the npower Championship.

But they cannot buy a Barclays Premier League win since their latest promotion last summer.

McDermott said: "If you wanted to have that concern, you could've had it last year when we were bottom of the league after six, seven games."

The Reading boss also denied reports of a bust-up with Danny Guthrie following the midfielder's axing for the side's 3-3 draw with Fulham.

McDermott rubbished suggestions Guthrie had been told to stay away from the club's training ground following his reaction to being dropped ahead of Saturday's clash at the Madejski Stadium.

The Royals manager confirmed he and Guthrie had spoken about the 25-year-old's exclusion from the squad but insisted there were no heated words exchanged.

McDermott said this morning: "There's no bust-up. He wasn't selected to play for the game.

"So, I don't know where the reports are coming from. Danny was training yesterday."

Insisting he also expected Guthrie to train on Monday, he added: "I try to have a conversation with the players that are not involved and I did have a conversation with him."

Asked if Guthrie, who joined Reading from Newcastle this summer, had been upset by his axing, McDermott said: "Listen, if players are not in the side at this football club, they support the players that are in the side - that's what's got to happen.

"You get paid to play when you're selected.

"And when you're not selected, support the players that are playing.

"That's what we've had over a long, long period of time.

"That's the culture of this football club."


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