Team spirit will help Reading succeed - Mariappa
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Reading's Adrian Mariappa.
ADRIAN Mariappa is convinced Reading's team spirit and togetherness will be a priceless commodity in the Premier League.
Royals landed Mariappa from Watford for around £3 million this week following a lengthy pursuit.
The 25-year-old defender signed a three-year contract on Tuesday and joined his new team-mates on their pre-season tour to Portugal on Wednesday.
And he is clearly not put off by the size of the challenge facing Royals in arguably the wealthiest league in world football.
Manchester City shelled out an estimated £1 billion in their quest to win a Premier League title, while rivals Manchester United were this week named the richest sporting club in the world.
And with the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool and Newcastle United also investing heavily in their squad, survival will be tougher than ever in the top-flight next season.
But the prospect of locking horns with such Premier League big guns does not scare Mariappa.
In an exclusive Chronicle interview, he said: "Manchester City have got the money to just go out there and buy the best players in the world. Not many clubs can compete with that level of spending and I'm sure Reading can't.
"But when you go out onto that pitch it's 11 players versus 11. I think that's how we will look at it and try to use the strengths that we have
"If we can stick together and produce the kind of team-spirit that helped the club win the Championship title last season then we have a chance against anyone.
"We've got to take those things from last season and add some quality, which is what's been done in the transfer window, we know can cause an upset on any given day.
"Any club going into the Premier League has to see survival as its target. We believe we can be competitive in this league and we will take it game-by-game. We'll be going out to get as many points on the board as we can."
Harrow-born Mariappa was the subject of a failed £2 million bid from Newcastle and ex-Reading boss Alan Pardew in January.
Royals are believed to have failed with a similar bid in late April once promotion had been guaranteed then returned with a higher offer recently which Hornets, under the new ownership of the Pozzo family, finally accepted.
Jamaica international Mariappa has spent all his career at Watford, with more than 250 games under his belt.
He emerged through the Hornets youth ranks where current Reading coaches Nigel Gibbs, Chris Cummins and David Dodds previously worked.
"I knew quite a bit about the club anyway so Brian McDermott didn't have to sell it to me that much," he explained.
"I've always admired the way they go about their business and how everyone wanted to play for the manager.
"That is something I have definitely bought into. When players want to play for the manager it makes a massive difference when you are on the pitch.
"Now I'm finally here and delighted. I knew Reading were very keen to have me and that was a big factor in all of this.
"I know a lot of people there and a few of the players as well. I've played against Reading a number of times and I know what the club is about.
"That side of it attracted me and the fact we're in the Premier League was an added incentive."
This article appeared in Local Berkshire 19 Jul 12
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