I usually hate international breaks, and deep down still do hate this one that’s coming up. However, I think it’ll give the players and Pauno a much-needed two weeks to rest, recover and regroup as Saturday’s result proved yet again that we’ve seemed to have lost our way a bit recently.
Some fans might think, in fact I know some definitely will, that I’m underestimating how poor we’ve been recently by saying ‘lost our way’, but I honestly think that’s all it is. We were poor, and we were poor against Preston North End too the game before, but we’ve set ourselves such ridiculously high standards so far this year that it can be easy to dip beneath them.
However, the defeat left the fans in a frustrated mood, which i can completely understand, but I also urge fans to look at the bigger picture and take perspective into account. There are still a lot of positives to take from our start to the season.
Here’s how the Loyal Royals reacted to the key talking points to come from the 3-0 loss to the Potters...
Up until the Coventry game the Friday before last, we were the best defensive team in the division, conceding only one goal. Since then, however, it’s gone quickly downhill and we have now conceded nine goals in our last three games.
Our demise in defence has, funnily enough, coincided with the injury of Liam Moore, who has been a man mountain so far this year. The defensive mistakes continued again on Saturday, with Esteves, Rafael and Gibson all making individual errors directly leading to each of the three Stoke goals.
It left the fans angry and annoyed as, other than those mistakes, there really wasn't a lot in the game...
Very worrying that Gibson struggled so badly today, awful error for their 3rd and all 3 goals came from our defensive mistakes. We've missed Moore so badly it's scary but not only him, Meite & Ejaria too #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) November 7, 2020
How can you go from conceding 1 in 6 games to 10 in the next 4? 6 of those have been down to defensive mistakes as well, woeful stuff... #readingfc— Jonny (@JMP1871) November 7, 2020
‘We win as a team and lose as a team’— Pedro‼️ (@PictonPedro) November 7, 2020
Yes Rafa, but these schoolboy defensive errors have seen us throw away 3 winnable games #ReadingFC
Another loss due to our own abismal errors. Shocking defensive header by Esteves for goal 1, and Rafael has to do better with his distribution (and stop appealing offside instead of making a save) for goal 2. Goal 3, well what can you say. #ReadingFC— Jessica (@JessTalksFootie) November 7, 2020
Not even a terrible performance but three awful defensive mistakes gifted Stoke all of their goals. International break has come at the right time. #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) November 7, 2020
Not only did we make silly mistakes leading to goals, when we did go behind we never really looked like creating anything of note - particularly in the second half.
Gibson had a chance on the stroke of half time which he really should’ve buried, but in the second half I can only recall us working Angus Gunn on one occasion, and even that was a speculative from substitute Aluko that went straight down his throat.
With Meite, Ovie and Swift all out injured, our creativity was always going to take a hit, however we need to find a way to get back into games when we go behind, and the fans agree with me on that...
They've done what we've done at the start of the season played badly and taken their chances. Awful mistakes from us, we need to make better decisions at the back. Plus going forward we need players back to have the variation we had before #readingfc— Jon hyde (@JonHyde1871) November 7, 2020
3/4 times Puscas and baldock have made a run to be put through on goal and we have stopped and gone back to the half way line. So frustrating. Not taking any risks going forward. #ReadingFC— Jamie Hodder (@Jamie_Hodder21) November 7, 2020
Totally lacking any confidence going forward as a team. We used to play teams off the pitch. Now we're just attempting pointless dribbles and delivering poor balls into the box. Dunno what's happened. #readingfc— Dan Cross (@danieljcross) November 7, 2020
João just gets drowned out by defenders, then we're forced to go wide and that's where our lack of an actual winger hurts us. Pauno has allot to answer for today #readingfc— ReeceRFC (@Reece_RFC) November 7, 2020
Piss poor. ZERO creativity and wide threat (not helped by injuries to Swift, Meite and Ejaria) but all this mucking around at the back has to stop. Nothing worse than Morrison and Rafael messing around with the ball in their own box. Sort it out over the break. #ReadingFC— Jonnie Harris (@jonnieharris99) November 7, 2020
Most frustrating #readingfc game so far, stupid mistakes and no creativity whatsoever going forward. Need our key players back.— Ben Bairabas (@ben_bairabas) November 7, 2020
Need for a break
I think this international break has come at exactly the right time. Hopefully it will give us the chance to get players back closer to full fitness and regroup before what is an extremely tough run of games.
It’ll be at the end of November, in my opinion, when I really think we'll see what this team are made of. We’ve shown signs of what we can do, we just need to find some solutions in this two-week period to some cracks that are starting to appear.
The fans certainly think we need a break, and are hoping we can get back to winning ways against Bournemouth in a couple of weeks...
And after all that we are still top going into the break.— Alex Stone (@alexgstone) November 7, 2020
It’s important we recognise that remaining this high in the table is not the expectation. Tough games coming now, losses to be expected. Pick up wins/points where possible. #readingfc
Nice words from Sean Morrison on SKY. Putting it in perspective we’ve got 22 points after 11 games and go into a much needed break in the automatic spots. #ReadingFC— Jonnie Harris (@jonnieharris99) November 7, 2020
With perspective we are still top, we get time to rest, work in training & three key players should be back after the break. Can’t complain too much overall but got to stop pudding about with players not ready #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) November 7, 2020
Last couple of games have been so frustrating. Have literally pressed the self destruct button. However it's still a bloody good start which no one expected. The break has come at the perfect time for us. #readingfc— Steven Kemp (@kempy26783) November 7, 2020
Every single goal we conceded was completely of our own doing, pathetic really, stoke didn't even have to get out of first gear to beat us, roll on the international break because we desperately need it #readingfc— Dan (@DanTheMan__98) November 7, 2020
Not going to delve to much into the game today, lots of individual errors... this international break is much needed ⚪️ #Readingfc— The Reading Review (@reading_review) November 7, 2020
Only light I’ve seen this year has come from Readings bright start to the season. I’m disappointed with the last three games. The international break has come at the right time for us. Squad depth proving a factor. Hopefully players can return. Much more work needed #readingfc— (@steel_beake) November 7, 2020
A much-needed break is upon us, before some really, really tough games. Pauno will use these two weeks to reset and work on finding solutions to some really obvious problems that we’ve had over the last three games.
Let’s be honest, if you’d have been offered top of the league by mid November, you’d have taken it. Let’s keep things in perspective people.