Paul Clement: Reading boss says pressure on Cardiff City in season finale

Lee Tomlin's goal in time added on rescued a 2-2 draw for Cardiff when they faced Reading in December
Lee Tomlin's goal in time added on rescued a 2-2 draw for Cardiff when they faced Reading in December

Reading manager Paul Clement insists Cardiff City will feel the pressure more than his own relegation-threatened side in Sunday's Championship finale.

Cardiff can seal a top-two finish and promotion to the Premier League against the Royals, if they match or better Fulham's result at Birmingham City.

Reading need a point to guarantee safety without relying on games elsewhere.

"There's going to be pressure on both sets of players," Clement said.

"Maybe more on them because how many times have we seen a team that's ended up not getting the second automatic spot… and then don't end up getting promoted through the play-offs?"

Cardiff are currently second, one point ahead of Fulham who having enjoyed a 23-game unbeaten run are aiming to overhaul the Bluebirds at St Andrew's.

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Warnock looking to leave legacy as boss

But former Swansea manager Clement warns the prospect and the jeopardy of the play-offs can affect the nerves of Neil Warnock's side

"They'll know this is their big chance, otherwise they are going to fall into a group of teams where anything can happen," said Clement.

"Whether that's Middlesbrough, Aston Villa or Derby, that will be really difficult to call. They're going to want to get the job done, that's going to increase pressure and if we defend right, we'll have some chances."

Reading boss Paul Clement was sacked as Swansea City manager in December 2017
Reading boss Paul Clement was sacked as Swansea City manager in December 2017

Reading go into Sunday's final day in 19th, two points ahead of the bottom three. They can guarantee safety with a point - but can be relegated if they are beaten and Barnsley and Burton both win and Birmingham avoid defeat.

"It's a big game for us but a massive game for them as well," the former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich assistant manager added.

"It's been a while since Cardiff have been in this sort of position, the chance to go to the big league, so there'll be nerves from their side as well. It's a very important game for both teams."

Clement, who praised the success of Warnock this season, says he is better prepared for Reading's relegation fight following his success in keeping Swansea City in the Premier League last season, saying he has already drawn on the experience and that he is "calmer" in that situation.

'Sad ending'

The 46-year-old led Swansea from bottom to safety in five months, including overseeing four wins from their final five games.

But he was sacked in December with the club again at the foot of the Premier League, being replaced by Carlos Carvalhal who has guided Swansea out of the bottom three but is still to secure safety with three games remaining.

"It was sad the way it ended, but that's ultimately the profession I'm in: if you don't get the right results your job is always going to be at risk," Clement said. "But (there were) also fantastic memories.

"I enjoyed working with the players a lot, never any issues with dressing-room unrest, always very focussed in training, enjoyed working with the group and obviously I've been keeping a keen eye on how they've done.

"I really hope the team stay up, because I liked a lot of the players and the backroom staff there.

"Of course (they can stay up). They've got a really tough game this weekend (at Bournemouth); the next two games are pivotal."

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