Another miserable failure to back up a good performance. Reading were very good against QPR, especially in the first half, which filled the fans with optimism heading into the New Year’s Day clash with Swansea City.
That optimism soon vanished though as Reading fell 3-0 down before half-time thanks to some embarrassing defending all round from the Royals and no real cutting-edge going forward.
It’s just plain and simple that the majority of these players aren’t good enough. There needs to be a drastic overhaul in the next month; we need quality over quantity. Swansea were good on Tuesday, but Reading were bad - very bad. Probably the worst performance yet of a disastrous season.
Last year, we were lucky there were three teams worse than us but, with the squad we currently have, we won’t have the same fortune this time around. Jose Manuel Gomes has an absolutely mammoth job on his hands to: 1) Get rid of all the deadwood at the club, 2) Bring in some serious quality, 3) Repair the relationship between the fans and players and 4) Keep us up.
The fans are definitely worried at the ever-growing prospect of League One football next year, and there were some key talking points that got them all talking on social media after the game...
It just gets worse and worse. The Swansea game just summed this season up. Failure to stay with your man at set pieces, tentative tackling, no game awareness - it was an exhibition in how not to defend.
Without Moore at the back, we’re going to concede goals. Even with him in the team we’re bad, but without him there’s just no leadership or aggression at the back. If I were a striker about to face Reading at the moment, I’d be licking my lips.
Understandably, the fans are just concerned with the shambolic defending, they’re furious. It’s what’s going to take us into League One if it doesn’t get sorted out quickly because there’s at least two or three big defensive errors every game. Here’s what the fans had to say after the game...
Now that’s awful defending that #readingfc Christmas was last week, but Reading going for a stuffing.— Chris Chapman (@Chappers88RFC) January 1, 2019
The state of that defending isn’t even Sunday League material #readingfc— JDM (@RFC_Smurf93) January 1, 2019
Some absolutely diabolical defending so far, get OShea as far away from that team as possible #readingfc— Luke (@gibbsey517) January 1, 2019
Swansea have had three shots and scored three goals. Ilori can't handle McBurnie and absolutely criminal defending from a free kick costs us. This is not a 0-3 football match, but Reading are back at it again. #readingfc— Matthew Williamson (@Photomattic) January 1, 2019
The January transfer window
If Gomes and the Reading fans learnt anything from Tuesday’s defeat, it’s that this next month is going to be absolutely massive. If the club fail to get players out and bring quality in, we are destined for League One football.
There’s no out and out goalscorer in this squad, you could argue there hasn’t been since Adam Le Fondre (but Yann Kermorgant might have something to say about that). That needs addressing more than ever.
No real quality out wide, McCleary’s not getting any younger, Mo Barrow’s end product is as frustrating as ever and Sone Aluko, well, what needs saying about the former Fulham man that hasn’t already been said? We need to improve the squad in a lot of areas this month, and the fans are certainly aware of that...
Forfeit all games through January until we have a totally new squad!!!— Brightside (@BrightsideRFC) January 1, 2019
None of the senior guys have any bottle, it's a shame our kids are learning from them!!#readingfc
Whole squad must be up for sale for January if a serious rebuild is to happen? #Readingfc— DJ Seward (@darrenjseward) January 1, 2019
For me number 1 target in January is a new keeper, if we want to play Gomes style we need a keeper who is capable to play that way and good with their feet. But it seems the whole squad has such a soft centre and needs a real overhaul #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) January 1, 2019
Surely this massive January clear out at #readingfc is dependant on clubs actually wanting to sign these wasters? What club in their right mind is going to purchase the players we want rid of?— Jamie Austin (@austin_j_powers) January 2, 2019
The new gaffer
If there was one positive we could take from Tuesday afternoon, it’s Jose Manuel Gomes. He knows exactly what kind of mess we are in, and what needs to be done to get out of it. His post-match interview were very impressive. He understands that there are players at the club who cannot stay, he understands the size of the task ahead of him and the players, and he understands that the connection between fans and players needs reestablishing.
It could be a very long season in Berkshire, but we have been promised by the 48 year-old Portuguese that nothing like Tuesday afternoon will ever happen again whilst he is still manager - and for some reason I believe him.
His comments after the Swansea match certainly installed confidence in the fanbase that Gomes could be the man to get us out of this mess and hopefully start looking up the table sooner rather than later...
Gomes comes across so well, he speaks passionately and is very honest. Now his talking needs to be done on the pitch. #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) January 1, 2019
Whatever the league is next year I want Gomes in charge #readingfc— Eddie (@EddieRFC7) January 1, 2019
No day off ! Love that Gomes is getting stuck in to these pre Madonnas #ReadingFC— Brad (@BradSRay) January 1, 2019
#readingfc Gomes is certainly dedicated to this club and I truly think he’s the man to fix this mess. I just can’t see how getting rid of players that didn’t even play is going to improve our squad harmony massively, let alone our results.— Archie (@ArchieCrabbe) January 1, 2019
Tough, tough times at the Mad Stad. Hopefully we’ll see a bit of an overhaul over the next few weeks - because we need to. At least up next is an easy away trip to a revitalised Manchester United at Old Trafford...