Don’t pinch yourself, Reading fans - this isn’t a dream. We really did continue our best start to a league season in 35 years on Saturday with a 1-0 win against hotly tipped promotion favourites Watford. Oh, and we also did it without Lucas Joao, John Swift, Ovie Ejaria or Andy Yiadom.
Every player, to a man, were absolutely fantastic against the Hornets. Even with winning the first three games, I’m sure there were fans fearing the worse when they woke up on Saturday morning as Watford are a team full of Premier League-quality players, and are squad was already beginning to look thin due to injuries.
However, the players that were called in for the injured Joao, Swift, Ejaria and Araruna were arguably our best on the day. Aluko, Holmes and Puscas were all absolutely fantastic, particularly Sone Aluko - who produced easily his best performance in a Reading shirt.
Aluko has had his fair share of criticism since singing from Fulham in 2017, some of it more than deserved, but he shut those critics up well and truly against Watford. He was absolutely everywhere, as was the rest of his teammates.
The fans are certainly in a buoyant mood at the moment, and seriously, who can blame them? Four wins out of four is the perfect return. Here’s how they reacted to some of the key talking points from Saturday’s win...
I mentioned him briefly before, but i really think his performance deserves a special mention. And it got a special mention from the vast majority of Reading fans on Twitter, too.
With no Swift or Ejaria, our team tends to seriously lack any creativity or threat going forward - but Aluko filled that void perfectly. Not only did he show real quality on the ball going forward, he also put in an absolute shift defensively too.
It was hands down his most complete performance in a Reading shirt, and hopefully this signals a change in fortunes for his time in Berkshire. The fans were certainly happy with what he offered...
Now this is what you call a redemption season from Sone Aluko. Brilliant performance today #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) October 3, 2020
Where are we putting the Sone Aluko statue then? #readingfc— jacob ainscough (@ainscough_jacob) October 3, 2020
Cant wait to see the West Stand renamed the Sone Aluko Stand. #readingfc— Tim Patten (@TimRobinPatten) October 3, 2020
03/10/2020 - the date I realised Sone Aluko was the greatest footballer the world had ever seen. #readingfc— Fred (@OneFredOne) October 3, 2020
Sone Aluko has just proved every single one of us wrong. #readingfc— James Davies (@Jamie_1871) October 3, 2020
Lot’s of candidates for MOTM but for me Aluko was excellent. Hopefully he’ll get more chances to play and put in performances like he did today #readingfc— Will (@willallen1871) October 3, 2020
Four out of four!
I don't think any Reading fan would’ve predicted we’d be joint top of the table with four wins out of four come the first international break. But here we are, and it feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
We don't get to celebrate much in this neck of the woods, so i think we deserve to celebrate what has been a truly incredible start to the season. It just makes it even more painful that we’re not there to witness it, because that would really make it the perfect start.
Surely, we’ll be back before May though so we can see the trophy lift and open top bus parade around the streets of Reading, won’t we?
Here’s how the fans reacted to claiming the fourth win out of a possible four...
: Bring on the beers after ANOTHER fantastic win today from @ReadingFC!— Dominic Gardner (@DG95Official) October 3, 2020
4 out of 4 games so far, another 41 games to go until the premier league awaits!
Four wins out of four. We’re not playing *that* well but you cannot complain. Defensively we look unbelievably solid which allows the front four to go and express themselves. Pauno-ball #readingfc— Adam Goodwin (@AdamGoodwin__) October 3, 2020
That is an absolutely outstanding win for #readingfc, especially given the key absentees. Four in a row beggars belief - Paunovic working early miracles! Long may it continue.— George Flood (@GeorgeFlood24) October 3, 2020
Four on the spin for #ReadingFC so far! Fear I might wake up!— Rob North (@Scotracing) October 3, 2020
Another amazing win for us today shout out to the academy lads that put an absolute shift in today! Also a big shout out to Sone Aluko and Yakou Meite who were, in my eyes, outstanding! Come on urzzz!!! #Readingfc— Dan (@Dan20072725) October 3, 2020
This is just the second time in 100 years of league football that we've won our first four games (the other being in 1985 on the way to 13). What a start #readingfc!— Chris Lee (@cribsie) October 3, 2020
The team spirit
After the full time whistle on Saturday, the Reading fans witnessed something that may have pleased them more than the actual win did. Every member of staff and player - even the injured ones - gathered in the middle of the pitch to celebrate.
It showed exactly what Pauno has instilled into this squad since he’s come through the door - every player fighting for one another, giving absolutely everything, and putting the team before the individual. This is all we ever want as fans of the club - and we’re beginning to get it again.
We may not have created a load of chances on Saturday, but every player ran themselves into the ground to make sure we won all three points. Long may it continue, and I think the fanbase agree with me when I say that...
Pauno has the entire squad huddled on the pitch. Bet the players are buzzing after that.— Pedro‼️ (@PictonPedro) October 3, 2020
Such fight and desire from the team and very proud of #ReadingFC today. Playing horrible and getting the 3 points.
Come on URZZ
Unity, passion, fight, desire. There’s so many more words I can use to describe this group of players. This team is special #readingfc— Deckland (@dsaunders_6) October 3, 2020
There is a willingness to defend and fight for each other, the badge the manager and the fans! Brilliant to see! #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) October 3, 2020
another win! what a start to the season. great to see some fright and spirit in the team too. URZ #readingfc— Matt M (@readingfcfan) October 3, 2020
What a fantastic result that is!! Every single player putting their body on the line, and really showing our togetherness and team spirit with a huge huddle with the whole squad in the pitch at full time!! Unbelievable start to the season! #readingfc ⚽— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) October 3, 2020
Team spirit is absolutely brilliant now.— Matt (@lines_aviation) October 3, 2020
Knowing our luck someone will test positive for Covid tomorrow and chuck everyone into quarantine for the whole of the international break though.#Readingfc https://t.co/9xIoziJfGe
This team spirit is something that's been missing for a while now, the new manager seems to be getting the best out of everyone. Some previous managers haven't been able to do. #readingfc https://t.co/NDAB5VVXw1— Matty Lovegrove (@LovegroveMatty) October 3, 2020
Veljko Paunovic - I salute you. It’s early days, but the Serb has really set some fantastic foundations already. He has installed a fight and a spirit into this team that us fans haven’t seen in years. Hats off, Sir.
And I want to give a special shoutout to Puscas, who was incredible on Saturday, and truly deserved his goal.
Hopefully we can add some players over the next few days and weeks, and really start pushing on.