It was never going to be easy facing Frank Lampard’s Derby County at Pride Park. After a poor first half performance, the Royals played better in the second half, but were unable to pick up any points from Derbyshire.
Reading had a terrible start after Duane Holmes gave the home side the lead in just three minutes. They doubled their lead five minutes before half time through Harry Wilson to put them in a comfortable position. Sone Aluko came on in the second half and had one of his better games in a Reading shirt and changed the game after he scored in the 66th minute, but the Royals were unable to find an equaliser.
The defeat leaves us two points away from Rotherham who are hovering above the relegation area, but we are six points behind Wigan, who are 20th. Here is what Jose Gomes had to say after the game, speaking to both the official club website and Football.London.
Gomes on the performance
“The big lesson from this game is that we must – it is not an option – we must play all of our games like we train, no matter the name of the opponent. If we play like under our process, under our philosophy, seeing the players happy to play football and then we lose, nobody can touch my players. I am completely responsible.
“For the first 20 minutes, we played out of our process. And so we gave the advantage to Derby. After that time, we played under our process and we controlled the game completely and created good situations. So to lose the game is not a fair result for what my players did.
“But until we began playing in the way that we should, we gave away the advantage. I don’t want my team to play in a different way just because we’re playing a team in one of the top positions. If we lose, we lose. That can happen in football. But we must do it under our process, under our philosophy. We suffered today because we didn’t start like that in the first 20 minutes.”
Gomes on trusting the players
“Sometimes it looks like I trust my players more than they trust themselves, because I can feel the strength that they have and the energy and quality that they have. We just have to put everything together and respect our process.
“I felt that my players started the game like they were scared of their opponents. We’re near the bottom, they’re near the top. But when we played under our process, we controlled the game. They started getting more confidence, they believed it was possible to get a different result.”
Gomes on turning our good performances into wins
“We need to transfer the way that we are playing into good results. Now we have 18 battles left, which is more than enough for us to achieve our target. But we will have no chance at all if we play for 20 minutes, 15 minutes or even one minute in the same way that we started this game today.
“Today, we didn’t lose any confidence in the things we are doing. But we cannot play very well like we did – with 65% possession and as many shots as Derby – and say at the end ‘we are a good team and that we have hope for the future’. No. We need to win, and we need points.”
Gomes on playing out from the back
“I wanted the goalkeeper to start playing but he must see solutions in front of him. The midfielders must have a strong dynamic, creating passing lines, and if he doesn’t see a pass line through the middle he can play to the full-backs or a long ball to the striker.
“But first we must try that. We created some situations because we didn’t try, not because we’re not able to do it. In the second half, Derby defended in exactly the same way but we played in a completely different way. We must start playing like we are training.
“If we lose or make a mistake trying to do what we want to do then it’s my responsibility. I don’t let anybody touch my players but we must start playing like I want.”
Gomes on Rinomhota playing right back
“Andy is a great player and he gives everything inside him to the game and to Reading. He did very well at right back. He can give energy wherever you put him. The idea was to put another player with a different kind of capacity in the middle and put our team stronger under our process.
“That was the idea putting Baker in the middle. It’s not just his responsibility but it didn’t work so now we need to recover and help the players to be strong and start the next match playing our football.
“We cannot run away from our ideas. We cannot train one way in midweek and then at a game because we are playing Derby become scared and run away from our process.”
Gomes on making changes
“Swift, did very well with Bacuna and Aluko. They played really well. The intention when making changes is always to play better. The idea was to start the game playing under our own process. I realised we were out of our process and at half time I changed things.
“It’s an easy answer after the match I could do this or that. The idea to include Baker in the line-up was to give more quality to our offensive game. It didn’t happen but after the change (bringing Aluko on) we could have changed the result. The big lesson is we must start playing under our own process in all the matches.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s against a team in first or at the bottom, we must play our game and that’s it.”
Gomes on Ilori’s potential move to Sporting Lisbon
“He’s a very good professional. He can control himself and go on being a good pro and help Reading win games.
“I don’t know what will happen in the future - when the market opens anything can happen. But what I can say is that he’s working well and is completely focused on the tasks we give him during the week. So I believe he will go on helping Reading.”
Gomes on picking up just four points from our last five games
“I am disappointed with that. I work with these players every day and I know they can do more. I felt we could do more to get a result against Derby - so it’s this hope and trust I will try to give them for the future and help them to be stronger in the next match.”
Gomes on Aluko’s performance
“He played very well. He did what I asked him to do - received the ball on the back of the opponent’s midfielders in the no.10 position. He has the technical ability to do this and did it very well. He scored one goal and could have scored another one.”