After three wins on the trot, Wednesday night was a bit of a reminder from the Championship that form doesn’t really count for all that much.
It was one of those games really. Derby just looked like they wanted it more, and we just had a bit of an off day in the final third. We got into a few promising positions in both halves, but just lacked that killer instinct to put the ball in the back of the net.
This game just felt like one game too far for a thin squad that is having to play a lot of football at the moment. Pauno doesn’t have the luxury of being able to rest players like Swift, Ejaria, Laurent etc or bringing them off towards the end of the game.
It was a performance that, on another day, could’ve led to a scrappy draw or possibly even a win because I don’t think there was a lot in it between the two teams. Derby weren’t hugely better than us, but they just managed to finish their chance (albeit rather fortuitously).
Here’s how the fans reacted to the loss...
I don’t think the performance was that bad, really. Of course, we lost the game and we struggled to find any quality in the final third, but when you compare the performance to others we’ve seen in the recent past - even this season - I don’t think it was too bad.
However, going off the fans’ tweets after the game, it seems I may be in the minority with that opinion. Which I can sort of understand. Sort of.
Here’s what they had to say about the lacklustre showing...
Lack of quality tonight. A performance from any one of puscas, ejaria or hailovic could have won it and we didn’t get one from any. 3 on the bounce softens it. On to the next one #readingfc— Joe Lodge (@JosephGLodge) September 29, 2021
12 hours after leaving for an away day, I’m home. What a waste of time and money for that horrendous performance. I just know I’ll be doing it all again in the near future #readingfc— Joshua Verroken (@joshverroken) September 30, 2021
That was awful. So many poor performances and no cuttting edge at all. They weren’t great at all either- definitely an opportunity missed. #readingfc— Louis Stagg (@dinglouis_) September 29, 2021
Literally played with 10 men all game. Puscas first half.. Clarke second. Terrible performance. #ReadingFC— Jamie Hodder (@Jamie_Hodder21) September 29, 2021
No complaints about the result poor performance, looked leggy and didn’t create enough. Onto Saturday #readingfc— Mark Sugar (@marksugar) September 29, 2021
Absolute no excuses tonight, awful performance, players don’t look bothered at all #Readingfc— Steve (@Steviep1871) September 29, 2021
Well, I think it’s fair to say that the George Puscas conundrum continues to rumble on after Wednesday’s game.
I know there are a lot of fans who don’t rate him at all, but for me he just looks like a player completely shot of any kind of confidence. You can tell by the way he moves around the pitch, he just isn’t confident in himself at the moment.
And I don’t think getting hauled off after 50 minutes for a winger is going to help that. I get that his performances need to improve, but I think he needs a little bit of love personally.
The fans weren’t happy with what he offered whilst on the pitch...
Puscas dreadful tonight so far. No one looking up for it so far #ReadingFC— lex ♂️ (@royalex_B) September 29, 2021
Little bit sloppy in the final 3rd. Puscas lost up top on his own again. Could have been played in a few times though having said that.. but final pass being delayed.— Jamie Hodder (@Jamie_Hodder21) September 29, 2021
Big second half needed. #ReadingFC
I do feel for Pușcaș as well, yes he wasn't great last night but previously he'd had some much better games linking play and being involved. But was then subbed off against QPR and then dropped. There's a player in there for sure, but he's so short of confidence atm #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) September 30, 2021
No one good enough tonight but all I see is Puscas slander. #readingfc fans scapegoats— jacob ainscough (@ainscough_jacob) September 29, 2021
Is Puscas towing a petrol truck? He can’t turn or run with any pace #readingfc— Paul Atkins (@BouncyPaul) September 29, 2021
Poor half, a bit all over the place. Puscas having another poor one #Readingfc— Dominic (@domwindle) September 29, 2021
It was a tough evening at Derby, but although the fans were frustrated at the result and the performance, they were keen to look ahead to Saturday’s trip to South Wales.
This is the kind of performance that needs to just be a blip, or else it could easily start unravelling into something a lot worse - which we’ve seen many times before. Personally, I think we’d take a draw and get into the international break.
But, the fans are eager for the next game to come quickly, which I guess is a good sign...
Result was poor. But in terms of individual performances, I thought Laurent, Drinkwater, Dele, Baba and Southwood were outstanding. Also great to see Dann fit. We conceded a fluke goal, and were unfortunate not to score. Onto Cardiff on Saturday. #readingfc— Ed Ryding (@EdRyding) September 29, 2021
#ReadingFC running out of steam and look desperate for the international break. Hopefully we can dig deep and get something from the Cardiff match and then make the most of the recovery time during the break.— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) September 29, 2021
Strange game that! Very fortunate goal from derby and we just could not break them down Clarke could not seem to get involved very disappointing onto cardiff #readingfc— Rob Cooper (@RobertC89059161) September 29, 2021
Very frustrating game that, on another day we would have scored a couple, though it was very even but 2nd half only one team in it really. But it's really tough to be to critical of a team that's so severely handicapped by injuries in defence. Onto Cardiff away #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) September 29, 2021
Very poor tonight. Slow, lethargic and a lack of intensity. Certainly no where near the side we saw Saturday. I did think we looked very fatigued at the end of the game. Key players couldn’t get into it. Rest up and onto Cardiff. #readingfc— Louis Roberts (@LouisRobWrites) September 29, 2021
Frustrating result tonight. Not at a races throughout the 90 minutes. Not worried about what happened out there, but the players need to be more clinical when presented with opportunites to score. On to Cardiff we go #readingfc— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) September 29, 2021
Like I said previously, it was the kind of performance that needs to just be a blip. Just a minor inconvenience in our progression as a team.
Cardiff, theoretically, should be a good place to start picking up some momentum again having lost their last four games. However, this is the Championship, so trying to write scripts is a pretty useless task.
A positive result is needed headed into the international break, I just hope these players can dig in and find one somewhere. Because they looked very tired on Wednesday.