Reading: Jaap Stam defiant despite home defeat by Birmingham City

Reading captain Paul McShane in action against Birmingham City
Reading captain Paul McShane shows his frustration during their defeat by Birmingham City

Reading manager Jaap Stam defended his side from criticism despite Tuesday's home defeat by Championship strugglers Birmingham City.

The Royals slipped to 18th after losing 2-0 to the Blues, leaving them four points above the relegation zone and without a win in six league games.

Before the game, Stam was given the backing of chief executive Ron Gourlay.

"It's not a question of style, lots of other teams in the league are playing the same way," Stam told BBC Sport.

The former Manchester United and Netherlands defender, 45, led the Royals to last season's Championship play-off final, only to lose on penalties to Huddersfield.

But a 12th defeat of this season gave Birmingham City the chance to move off the bottom of the table.

"It's easy to blame and criticise people if things are going wrong, especially at the moment," Stam told BBC Radio Berkshire. "You need to stick together and work hard.

"If you're not willing to work for each other and it's easy to blame somebody, then it becomes more and more difficult to get results.

"I've told the players that as well and we need to work on that to turn results around. Players need to make their own decisions and they need to understand that."

Ron Gourlay
Ron Gourlay became Reading CEO last summer after previously filling the same role at Chelsea

With the January transfer window open, chief executive Gourlay quashed suggestions Stam's job may be under threat because of poor results.

"I don't even want to discuss it as the owner has put his faith in myself and Jaap to drive the team forward," he said.

"It is a longer-term project and we want to make sure we get it right so there's no discussions at all like that."

Reading travel to League Two Stevenage in the FA Cup third round on Saturday before returning to Championship action at Hull on 13 January.