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Coppell resigns as Reading boss by Alec Kennedy

Steve Coppell has resigned as manager of Reading after the club he has coached for the last five and a half years failed in its quest to secure an immediate return to the Premier League.

sports Updated: May 13, 2009 20:39 IST

Steve Coppell has resigned as manager of Reading after the club he has coached for the last five and a half years failed in its quest to secure an immediate return to the Premier League.

Reading were beaten 2-0 defeat at home to Burnley in the second leg of a Championship play-off semi-final on Tuesday, losing the tie 3-0 on aggregate.

The Royals had been on track to clinch automatic promotion to the top flight following relegation last season but they wilted in the last three months of the campaign, largely due to wretched home form.

"Following our exit from the play-offs, I feel it's the best thing, for both the club and myself, for me to leave," Coppell said in a statement released by the club on Wednesday.

The former Manchester United and England winger took charge of Reading in 2003 and guided them to promotion to the Premier League three years later.

The 2006-07 season saw Coppell win plaudits for Reading's passing style as they finished 8th in their first season among the elite, but he could not sustained that success and the Royals dropped back down to the Championship last season.

Coppell, who was out of contract at the end of the season, had been understood to have been contemplating a break from football even if Reading secured promotion and he cut a dejected figure in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's match.

"I don't think any team has had more chances than us to get promoted," he admitted. "We've gone nine games without a win at home and if we'd won three of them we might be contemplating the Premier League.

"I can't understand our home form and it was something I couldn't solve which is what has cost us promotion. I apologise to the fans. A manager is judged on results and if I feel we have had the opportunities to go up and we haven't done then it's my fault."

Burnley boss Owen Coyle meanwhile warned his squad that they still have a mountain to climb if they are to reach the summit of the Premier League.

The Lancashire club, one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888, have not played in the top tier of English football since 1976.

But they will be back there if they can overcome Sheffield United in the Championship play-off final on May 25 after two stunning second-half goals from Martin Paterson and Steven Thompson here on Tuesday.

Coyle, a Scot who represented Ireland in his playing days, has endured a marathon season in which his side also reached the semi-finals of the League Cup and he made it clear he was determined to finish on a high.

"The prize is a place in the Premier League and that is what everyone wants but there is no place for celebration yet," he said.

"We recognise we have not achieved our goal yet. We have earned ourselves a chance against Sheffield United which will be a formidable hurdle.

"But we have now played 60 games, used the least amount of players in the Championship, our average attendance is in the bottom three, our turnover is in the bottom four but we put ourselves on the line for each other and that is what this team is all about.

"We have gifted individuals but we achieve nothing without our work ethic."

Burnley had to weather a ferocious opening onslaught from Coppell's side on Tuesday night but always looked the more likely winners as Reading failed to unlock the visitors' resolute defence.

Paterson broke the deadlock with a 30-yard strike six minutes after the restart and former Rangers striker Thompson quickly made sure of victory with a fine volley after Graham Alexander's penalty had given the Lancashire club a first-leg advantage.

First Published: May 13, 2009 20:21 IST