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Sheffield United Fans Verdict: Royals Condemned To Biggest Loss Of The Season

The Royals headed into Saturday’s contest at high-flying Sheffield United full of confidence after Wednesday night, but were brutally defeated by the Blades.

After a fantastic result on Wednesday night - which moved Reading out of the bottom three for the first time since Boxing Day - the Royals put in arguably their second worst performance under Gomes, after the Swansea City horror show. Sheffield United are a top, top team who look destined for at least the play-offs, but we didn’t really do ourselves any favours going 2-0 down after 15 minutes.

A defence which has been so much better under Gomes looked back to its fragile worst as United continued to pile the pressure on us. These aren’t the games which will keep us up or take us down, but a 4-0 loss at this stage of the season really doesn’t help, and without Iorfa’s vital last-minute goal against Rotherham, we’d be back in the bottom three now.

Here is how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points from Saturday’s defeat...

The defence

As I’ve previously said, the defence has been so much stronger since Gomes came in. The signings of Emiliano Martinez and Matt Miazga could prove to be masterstrokes by the Portuguese manager, but the whole back five had a day to forget on Saturday.

When Gomes’ style of play is played right, it looks beautiful. However, if it isn’t done right, you are left in a dangerous situation as proven on Saturday afternoon. Hopefully it’s just a blip in what has been an incline in defensive performances, but it can’t continue in this kind of relegation battle.

The fans were understandably disappointed and worried about the defensive frailties, and do not want to see it continuing...

No midfield bite

Boy are we missing Andy Rinomhota. With no ball winner in midfield, we looked very open and weak, and when you’re up against players like Oli Norwood and John Fleck, you are going to get punished.

We desperately need Rinomhota back in the team, and the decision to let Bacuna go always puzzled me, but looks even worse now. Baker, Kelly, Ejaria and Swift are all very similar players, none of them really prioritise their defensive duties, and that really showed as Sheffield United carved through them at will.

The fans are certainly desperate to get Rinomhota back in the team, especially with the biggest game of the season coming up next Saturday...

The Rotherham game

This is the one. This is the biggest game of the season by a long, long way. We are now level on points with Rotherham, only above them on goal difference, so a win next Saturday would be absolutely huge.

However, equally, a loss would be hugely damaging. It’s the first of three absolutely massive games, and these are the ones that will go a long way to deciding which league we will playing in next season.

Hopefully the mood in the camp is still positive, and the big defeat on Saturday hasn’t knocked us back too much because we’ll need to put in our best performance of the season to get the result we need. The nerves are already starting to set in amongst the Reading faithful ahead of the next three games, and you can’t really blame them...

Conclusion

All in all, a pretty dire afternoon in Sheffield. But all eyes must be on next Saturday now, it’s probably our biggest match since the play-off final, but obviously for a very different reason.

One thing that did get to me was that last Wednesday saw our lowest crowd of the season, in what was a must-win game.

The players need us next Saturday, so get down to the Mad Stad and let’s do our bit to get a massive three points.

URZ