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Fan Verdict: Reading 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

The view from the stands as Reading come up short... again.

AFC Wimbledon v Reading - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

After the promising performances against Derby County and Nottingham Forest, and our first win since April coming in midweek against Birmingham City in the Carabao Cup, you would’ve thought Reading would get their first league win at home to Bolton on Saturday. Wrong.

It was an abysmal display from the Royals, toothless in attack and fragile in defence, which deservedly ended in a 1-0 loss for the Royals, the first time that they have lost their opening three fixtures of a league campaign since 1959. Here’s how the Reading faithful reacted to some of the key moments from Saturday’s game.

Team selection

In the previous three games this season, and for the majority of pre-season, Clement has employed a 4-4-2. As Barrow and Aluko were both unavailable through injury, it may have made sense to adopt a different formation, but the 4-4-2 was persisted with as John Swift was moved out to the left.

But, probably even more surprisingly, star performer Tiago Ilori was dropped to the bench as Liam Moore and Paul McShane paired up together in central defence, which certainly didn’t go down well with the fans...

The poor, poor performance

I’ve used the performance as a talking point previously, for all the good reasons, but this time it is the polar opposite. From the get-go Reading looked half-hearted; there was little attacking intent apart from a Baldock shot and a Swift free-kick that Alnwick dealt with relatively easily.

A lacklustre performance was duly met with a very lacklustre result and Reading need to up their game seriously or it could be a long season. It doesn’t get any easier either with two tough away games coming up next against Blackburn and Aston Villa. Here’s the Reading fans’ damning assessment from Saturday...

Paul Clement’s post-match interview and his future

It was expected that Clement would not be happy when fulfilling his media duties post-match, but the anger, honesty and passion he showed was something I haven’t seen from a Reading manager in a long time. Heavy criticism of not only his players, but himself and a staggering moment when he claimed even he would’ve booed the team too if he was sat in the stands.

I personally feel that calls for Clement to go are far too premature, but if performances and results like against Bolton continue, he will certainly be a man under pressure. And the Reading fans took to Twitter to voice their opinions on the manager...

Conclusion

I have been quick to praise and defend the team after the first two losses as the performances were good, but on Saturday we thoroughly deserved what we got. I believe in Clement and his ideas of how he wants the team to play football, and his post-match interview certainly gave me belief that he does care for this club and it was 10x more passion and honesty that we ever saw from Stam.

The players need to up their game, and hopefully with one or maybe two loan signings coming in, we will see an upturn in results. URZ!