Safety MarcBy Nick Ive
April 29, 2008
Marcus Hahnemann says he is loving the pressure and excitement of Reading’s relegation battle.
Royals host Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday knowing that anything other than a victory could plunge the club into the Premiership’s bottom three with just one match to play, at Derby County on May 11.
Spurs’ visit to a sell-out Madejski Stadium is now one of the most important games in the club’s history.
And Hahnemann told the Evening Post: “There is definitely added pressure. It is similar to what is on Manchester United and Chelsea at the top of the table.
“This week is certainly going to be exciting, although I’m sure all of us would rather be where we were last season.
“But I do like pressure. It’s a buzz when there is so much on the game. I hate losing and the thought of losing on Saturday is unbearable, but what drives me on is knowing what a great feeling it will be to win this match.”
Hahnemann, who kept a clean sheet last Saturday at Wigan, added: “All of a sudden the 38-game season is down to just two games.
“It is certainly exciting down at the bottom, probably more so than at the top because there are so many variables.
“Fulham play Birmingham on Saturday so points will be dropped, but either of them could go above us so it makes Saturday so important. We have to get something from the game.
“A lot of people have discounted us and it’s up to us to prove them wrong.
“We haven’t had the best of seasons and there’s no getting around that.
“We haven’t quite been firing on all cylinders and that’s why we are in this position.
“But we have played well at times and the display against Wigan is definitely something to build on.”
Tottenham have little to play for as they can’t finish below 13th or higher than 10th.
The north London side have won just twice since their Carling Cup Final victory over Chelsea at the end of February.
But Hahnemann warned: “Spurs have very skilful players and we need to be 100 per cent.
“The fact they have nothing to play for can go either way. But all that matters is us. If we play well we can get something from the game.”
Although Reading have now gone a worrying seven hours and 41 minutes without a goal, the players have taken confidence from last Saturday’s clean sheet at the JJB Stadium.
Hahnemann said: “We are a bit disappointed we didn’t get the three points, but keeping a clean sheet is definitely something to build on.
“We looked pretty solid defensively. There was one real worrying moment when they had a shot and it was blocked. The ball was spinning like crazy and I slipped because I was going one way. My heart sank and everything was in slow motion.
“But our destiny remains in our own hands and that’s all you can ask for.”