After an exciting transfer window, expectations were again high going into the weekend, but it’s going to take time for the players to gel together. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in time for Saturday’s match against Hull City.
It was a poor first-half performance with the Royals coming in 2-0 down after City scored goals through Jarrod Bowen and Jackson Irvine. In the second half, Reading put in a good performance which was rewarded with a goal for debutant Lucas Joao, but we weren’t able to score another to pick up an important point.
We did however have another penalty shout turned down. That makes two decisions this season that could potentially be harmful come the end of it. Here is what manager Jose Gomes had to say after the game; he spoke to the official club website and Football.London.
Gomes on the game and fighting spirit
“In football, we must give everything that we have inside us, from the referee’s first whistle. Today we can talk about two completely different games: the first half and the second half.
“The big difference was the spirit. In the second half we fought our individual challenges, won second-balls… this makes the difference. We must fight. I’m not tired of saying it, I’ll repeat and repeat - we can play, but first we must fight. Otherwise it is impossible to win.
“I did not like the first half at all. In the second half we could have even won the game because we created a lot of chances and played better. We won most of the second balls and the team was completely different – not because Hull dropped their lines, but because we behaved in a different way. We turned on the fighting spirit.
“In the Championship, if you want to achieve your target and be at the top at the end of the season, we have to switch on the fighting spirit from the beginning. Even in the warm-up we must be ready for the challenge that the Championship games always have. We must start our coming games in the way that we finished the second half.
“We have to give more. It’s not a question of coordination between the positions or tactical issues. I’m talking about having a fighting spirit. I’m not going to accept excuses about players just having arrived or not knowing each other yet. We have to fight from the beginning.
“So we must give everything. After that, the result we cannot control. We can only control what we do on the pitch. I am disappointed in the things that happened in the first half. But also I think that it should give us hope to see how we played in the second half and the goal situations we created. That gives us hope for the future.”
Gomes on Virginia’s error for the first goal
“It was a mistake and one which cost us a goal. We cannot hide this. But when you have a strong spirit in the team you can cover the mistakes of each other. In the second half they did and they could have scored more.”
Gomes on Rafael
“He trained a couple of times with us and we’ll see how he is feeling. We have a busy schedule so I think we’ll have a chance to see him in the goal.”
Gomes on Meite’s penalty shout
“I haven’t seen the replays but all my staff who have seen it have told me it was a foul because he touched Yakou. But this happened in a previous game. It’s not my job to talk about it. I talk about football. People can make mistakes.
“We should score the chances we created because it could have completely changed the game.”
Gomes on Ejaria’s absence
“He trained on Friday with us; he only played two friendlies in pre-season - just for 45 minutes and 60 minutes in each game. He needs to train a bit more.”
Gomes on Mo Barrow and if he would be a miss to the squad
“He hasn’t finished his situation - he is trying to finish his agreement in Turkey. He’s quick but so is Meite and Puscas; Joao received a couple of balls on the back of the defensive line.
“When we lose we try to find excuses everywhere but what happened was we lost three points because we didn’t start the game with the right spirit.”
Gomes on Danny Loader’s absence
“I didn’t put him on the list because what happened in the last few days and his expectations - I think I did the best for Reading.
“I just wanted to let the kid breathe and recover. Then we’ll see. Maybe in his head he had a good opportunity for his career and when this happens the players feel frustrated. We need to give him time to recover.”
Gomes on a change of expectations
“We cannot hide from the fact the level of our squad has increased a lot. We must accept the reality and fight for the things we can achieve. It’s the most competitive league in the world. Last season maybe everyone was saying at the start the teams who came down would go back up.
“But it didn’t happen - not because the teams didn’t have quality but because the league is amazing and it’s very competitive. We can’t think just because we have new players they will put on the shirt and the we’ll get three points. We must fight and play.
“Sometimes the fight is so hard we must give all our energy to it and if we don’t win the fight we cannot play football. Regarding targets we must focus on the next game, not put extra pressure on the players. We should start pre-season now because we have to give the players time, support and we’ll get to the top of the table in the end.”