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May 5, 2019 at 12.30pm UK at Madejski Stadium (Reading, Berkshire)
Attendance: 17,247
Reading
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BirminghamBirmingham City
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Jose Gomes pays tribute to "intelligent" John O'Shea after final game

Jose Gomes pays tribute to
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The 38-year-old former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland centre-back has called it a day.

Reading manager Jose Gomes paid tribute to his players – and those of Birmingham – after they formed a guard of honour for retiring defender John O'Shea when he came on as a substitute during the goalless draw.

The 38-year-old former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland centre-back has called it a day after a 20-year playing career.

"No, I've never seen anything like that before," Gomes said of O'Shea's guard of honour. "For me, it meant a lot. The respect that was shown to John.

"He is a very intelligent person. He's quiet, he doesn't speak too much. But when he talks, everybody listens.

"All the players respect him a lot. He won everything – he had a fantastic career – and deserved it.

"The guard of honour was the players' idea. All of them respect John a lot."

The Royals dominated for long spells and should have gone in front in the first half, only for Josh Barrett to miscue an attempted close-range volley.

Birmingham offered more after the break but Jota and Craig Gardner were unable to find the target from speculative efforts.

Gomes added: "For the way that we controlled the game and the situations we created, I think we deserved a bit more than just one point.

"It was a good game with two different styles of play. It was a nice football party.

"My players did very well and they deserved two points more."

Birmingham ended the season on an unbeaten seven-match run.

"I thought it was quite an even game, both teams had chances," Blues manager Garry Monk said. "The most important part for us was to finish the season unbeaten and on that seven-game run.

"That's a real positive for the lads. To know that we can go on those sort of runs.

"We had one earlier in the season when we were 11 games unbeaten.

"Of course, you want to win every game. But we're in the most competitive league in the world.

"But to finish the season seven games unbeaten is a difficult thing to do. That's a big 'well done' to our players.

"We've had a small squad, what with all the injuries, but we've still managed to make it through the last part of the season.

"Of course, there's always things to improve on.

"But, overall, the players have been absolutely magnificent. They've worn the shirt the right way.

"We talked about it at the start of the season. We wanted to put together a team with an identity and a more positive way of approaching games. I think it's been a huge success."

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