Jose Gomes’ sacking as Reading manager remains a contentious one among fans but, for all the Portuguese coach’s popularity, he leaves behind plenty of work to do for his replacement. Here, we rundown five important jobs the new boss must take on quickly.
Sort out the strikers
An obvious place to start but the one that ultimately got the last manager the sack. Reading have George Puscas, Lucas Joao, Lucas Boye, Yakou Meite, Sam Baldock and Danny Loader all at the club. They have only scored nine goals between them in 47 appearances this season.
We cannot play them all at once and it is another sign of the unbalanced squad we have forced upon ourselves yet their potential is still massive. Bereft of confidence, they need a new manager to help them shoulder the pressure and create partnerships.
Do not underestimate the Championship
Those dastardly Championship teams, what with their video footage and analysis departments. Both Jaap Stam and Gomes seemed to think most second-tier teams still trained out of garden sheds on school playing fields.
Therefore they were both stunned when their gameplans were swiftly worked out by the opposition and even home games against capable mid-table sides turned into losing battles. Whoever comes in next must know the division better and have a plan B - speaking of which...
Pick a new formation
One of Gomes’ biggest problems was locking himself into a 3-5-2 that was successful for all of a week. Omar Richards and Andy Yiadom were promising in attack but couldn’t cover their flanks alone, with the centre-backs torn apart as a result of that and a lack of midfield protection.
Finding a way of getting John Swift and Ovie Ejaria both onto the pitch without ruining the midfield’s ability to help defend is a tough ask but a must. A diamond might work, fitting in Andy Rinomhota and Pele. Add in the fact we have a dearth of wingers and the options are limited...
Bring back McCleary and Gunter
No, Garath McCleary and Chris Gunter are not the men to fire us to promotion. I also don’t think that casting them aside in the summer, to edge them towards a move and save the club their big wages, was a bad idea. Football is ruthless. You’re hot or you’re not.
But once the transfer window was shut, the management’s refusal to bring them back into the first-team fold was baffling. Results weren’t good enough and the aforementioned tactical issues at least indicated they had a role to play. There’s also their dressing room presence to consider - surely you want men of their experience inside the tent rather than out.
Continue to unite the fans
I consider this actually quite a low priority for any new manager. Gomes did a good job of charming supporters be it in talking to the likes of TTE, the STAR Fans’ Forum or in his post-match press conference.
His words had real meaning and many bought into them, creating a sense of clubhood that a new manager should harness and move forward with. That said, nothing unites a crowd like results and performances.