Wow, just wow. What a performance and what a result. Wednesday afternoon showed just how far this team has come in such a short space of time. The large majority of the Reading fanbase questioned the decision to hire Mark Bowen, but I very much doubt they are questioning anything now.
All we as fans ever ask is that the players leave everything they have got out on that pitch, and we are now starting to see that in abundance. Combine that with the obvious quality we have in the likes of Swift, Ejaria, Joao etc and you have a very exciting and promising recipe.
These last two games against Preston and now Fulham have shown the potential this team has, and it’s made the fans understandably very excited for what is to come in the 2020 - it was the perfect start to the New Year.
We were desperately close to claiming our fifth clean sheet in a row which by no means would’ve been undeserved, as the entire defence - including Miazga when he came on - plus the heroic Rafael were, once again, absolutely gigantic.
Here’s how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points to yet another fantastic result and performance - I think it’s fair to say they were all in a celebratory New Year mood...
Pele is a player, like many of our summer signings, who took their time to find their feet and settle down. In the opening months of the season, he was slow in possession and you could tell he was struggling to adapt to the Championship. However, he is now beginning to show why he can be the holding midfielder we’ve been craving.
He was outstanding yet again on Wednesday. Against a side with the attacking prowess of Fulham, he sniffed out any danger and epitomised the defensive awareness and quality that has been such a huge factor in our recent climb up the table.
Playing next to the more technically gifted Swift, Ejaria and Adam, the defensive work of Pele very often goes under the radar - but not on Wednesday...
Pele was class. Rafael is in some form ATM, long may it continue #readingfc— Tom (@TomMoore0506) January 1, 2020
Many top performances today but for me one player was outstanding, and outshone everyone and that was Pele. Broke up the play so many times, brought the ball forward. Vital interceptions and always trying to be positive, hats off to him he's improved beyond recognition #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) January 1, 2020
Appreciation tweet for Pele. Immense today and he's been improving rapidly the last few weeks. #readingfc— Joe Luckett (@Josephluckett6) January 1, 2020
Pele MOTM for me today. Rafael was brilliant too but Pele hardly put a foot wrong all game. Some player. #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) January 1, 2020
Great result and confidence boost, nice to get a win just before Christmas. First half Derby looked dangerous even with 10 men and defensively we were iffy. We tidied it up a bit second half and could of scored a hat full if we were even slightly clinical #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) December 21, 2019
Fantastic festive period
Wednesday rounded off an extremely successful Christmas period - one that far surpassed the expectations of us Reading fans. Four wins in a row, including three clean sheets, all whilst using the same starting eleven in the last three games is really something to be proud of.
Whatever this group of players had for Christmas dinner worked an absolute treat. Whilst looking impenetrable at the back, we are also looking more and more dangerous going forward - once Swift and Ejaria find those pockets of space inbetween the midfield and defence, all the opposition can do is pray.
The recent form has certainly got the fans in extremely high spirits - and rightly so...
What a fantastic Christmas for #readingfc , topped off with the news that Sone Aluko is back with the club training. 2020 is going to be a good year for us, I can feel it— Marlin28 (@Marlin2811) January 1, 2020
WWWW, not a faulty web browser, just our form over Christmas #readingfc— Ian Frampton (@iframpton) January 1, 2020
Can anyone else think of a season where we werent doing great before christmas but then suddenly got on good form? I think you'll find we won the league#readingfc— Dan (@ding_dan_18) January 1, 2020
To get 12 points from the Christmas period is incredible especially when you’ve had Preston and Fulham away. We now have a real chance of getting in the playoffs especially with our current form. #readingfc— Louis Stagg (@dinglouis_) January 1, 2020
Couldn’t of asked for a better Christmas period, Mark Bowen’s barmy army #readingfc— lewis hayes (@lewismarkhayes2) January 1, 2020
As much as I want to, I'm not going to start getting excited about the playoffs yet. I am really happy with our Christmas form though, and it's really nice to not be battling relegation this season. #Readingfc— Sam Stevenson (@tablefloor) January 2, 2020
A lot of Reading fans, myself very much included, will be beginning to eat their humble pie after the win against Fulham. The appointment of Bowen was much criticised by all corners of the fanbase, but not anymore.
The Welshman has reinvigorated this team and now we look like we can toe to toe with everyone in this league. Defensively we are miles better than anything we have been used to in recent years, and going forward we are so much more clinical and devastating.
The love was pouring in for the gaffer on New Year’s Day, and long may it continue. Mark Bowen’s barmy army...
Bowen is proving me very very wrong. Love it. #readingfc— Kyle Froomes (@KyleFroomes) January 1, 2020
Brilliant away day, got to give Bowen huge credit, we had low expectations, but he's got the team playing fun, determined, winning football... Roll on 2020! #readingfc— Ben Greenwood (@benjaminGfilms) January 1, 2020
Unbelievable stuff 12 points in 11 days and 5 points off the Play Offs. With 8 wins in 14 that’s an incredible return from where things looked. Mark Bowen is doing wonders and steadying the ship #readingfc https://t.co/0BzIJKjmPW— Tom (@SaturdayRoyal) January 1, 2020
Still think Gomes deserved more time & would’ve come good. However, fair play to Bowen. He’s certainly made a much bigger impact than when he was with us as a player! #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) January 1, 2020
I must admit, I was one of the first to criticise the appointment of Bowen, but bar a few games, he has done a fantastic job, I'm very glad he proved me wrong. Long may it continue. #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) January 1, 2020
A lot has to be said about Bowen's tactics, he seems to have found a formula for playing away, and he was spot on again today, particularly with the Miazga substitution. Worth noting that Miazga saved a certain goal with a last ditch block/tackle. And Rafael is immense #readingfc— Cam (@CamWyper) January 1, 2020
I was a big fan of Gomes but the way Bowen has changed this team is ridiculous and showed how inept Gomes was. Not only has he got Swift and Ejaria going we’re also a lot better defensively as seen with our away form and how comfortable we have been in the last 2. #readingfc— Louis Stagg (@dinglouis_) January 1, 2020
A fantastic away day, an even better result and performance. These players are digging in the for the badge and that’s the greatest feeling we can have as fans of our club.
Long may this run continue, but please let’s not get too excited - one game at a time.