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Birmingham City Fans Verdict: Royals Fall Well Below Par

Harry rounds up the reaction of the Loyal Royals after Wednesday night’s loss at the hands of Birmingham City.

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There is a very small part of me that has missed driving 200 miles on a cold mid-week evening to watch Reading play appallingly. However, not enough for me to enjoy Wednesday night’s performance at all.

It was, for me, the worst performance so far under Pauno. The Blues pressed us very well and we just didn’t have the ability to play through it. We’ve seen it already so far with the games against Coventry City, Preston North End and Stoke City, when teams are disciplined and sit behind the ball - we find it really hard to combat that.

It’s something that Pauno will work on, and he’ll be grateful that John Swift is getting closer and closer to a return. As good as Josh Laurent and Andy Rinomhota are, neither really have the ability to break the lines with a penetrative pass into feet, which is exactly what we needed on Wednesday, and exactly what Swift can do.

Obviously, the big opportunity was Lucas Joao’s penalty - we score that and there is a big chance that we go on to win the game. But, ultimately, I don’t think we deserved to do that. Birmingham came to do a job, did it perfectly and deserved to take home all three points.

Here’s how the fans reacted to the key talking points...

The performance

I stated previously that I thought this was the worst performance of the Paunovic era so far, and judging by some of the tweets after the game, the fans agree with me on that one.

We were really slow in possession and when players like Michael Olise and Ovie Ejaria are off their game, usually our Plan B is to go long over the top to Yakou Meite and Joao, but neither of the two forwards got any chances out of the Blues’ back four for large proportions of the evening.

Nothing seemed to work, and it was just one of those evenings. The fans are hoping that we don’t see too many more of those kinds of showings...

Potential injuries

This could possibly be the worst thing to come from the Wednesday night’s game.

As Reading were chasing the game, Meite clattered into Blues ‘keeper Neil Etheridge when chasing a long through ball. The Ivorian came off worse and Pauno was concerned with the injury in his post-match media duties.

To add insult to injury, pardon the pun, Joao hobbled off the pitch after full time, clutching his hamstring. Joao has played a hell of a lot of football recently so fingers crossed it was just cramp, but the fans are certainly fearing the worse...

Reaction on Saturday

Throughout the entire season, Pauno has been very good of dusting off results very quickly, whether that be a win, draw or loss. He’ll need to make sure that we don’t dwell on this performance for too long, and I have full confidence he’ll do just that.

One of the biggest changes in the team this season has been the mental aspect of the players. For far too long we’ve seen players get into slumps very easily, lose their confidence and end up on long losing streaks as a result. That just won’t happen under Pauno.

The fans certainly know how important it is to react on Saturday, as we travel to QPR...

Conclusion

It was a poor performance and a poor result. But I think there’s been a big change this season from all involved, including the fans, where we quickly put the last game behind us and turn all attentions to the next game - which is a really positive trait to have.

At the end of the day, the players and Pauno can only really do their talking on the pitch. And I for one have full confidence, if Joao and Meite are fit, that we will see a response against QPR.

URZ