After the absolute disaster of last Wednesday, I think I speak for the rest of my fellow Reading fans when I say that we expected a response. I mean, anything would be better than that horror show, but we wanted to see something that would reassure us that the Blackpool game was just a blip. Albeit quite a big blip.
I had my worries going into the Blackburn game that that would not happen, and those worries frustratingly came to fruition. The injury crisis at the club at the moment meant Pauno couldn’t ring the changes he possibly wanted to, having to use many of the same players who have played virtually every minute for the past six weeks or so.
I think this will be the reality of our season until we do get players back - as frustrating as it is to say. That doesn’t give the players a get-out-of-jail-free card though, and Saturday was again not good enough.
Here's how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points to come from the game...
Up until Blackburn opened the scoring, I think it was two teams having a bit of an off day playing against each other. It was clear to see that Wednesday had knocked the stuffing out of us a bit, and Blackburn weren't threatening that much either.
However, as soon as Blackburn put their foot down in the second half, they breezed through us with ease at times. Laurent and Drinkwater in midfield were so open, and it looked Blackburn would score on every attack.
We were lucky to escape with just a 2-0 defeat in all honesty, the phrase ‘architects of our own downfall’ comes to mind. Here’s what the fans had to say about the defending...
We simply can't defend at all, John O'Shea clearly a big miss #readingfc— Dominic (@domwindle) October 23, 2021
Masters of our own downfall, giving the ball away in poor areas yet again. Just need to get back to basics #readingfc— Dominic (@domwindle) October 23, 2021
Another awful performance. Bournemouth put 3 or 4 past us on Saturday #readingfc— Ben (@BenParsons89) October 23, 2021
It is so easy for Blackburn. All they have to do is run at the defence and it’s a goal. If we play against Bournemouth like this next week we will get battered #readingfc— Joel (@Jdh72Joel) October 23, 2021
Glad I'm on holiday and not able to pay too much attention to the #readingfc game this afternoon, seems like we've been pretty poor and 2 goals conceded in 2 minutes is always fun— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) October 23, 2021
Lack of options
Saturday clearly shone a light (if a light needed to be shone) on the severe lack of options Pauno has at his disposal. I understand the question marks over his tactics, and just straight blank refusing to use academy players on the bench - but when you’re without as many big-hitters as Pauno is, it’s always going to be difficult.
We are without Joao, Meite, Rinomhota, Halilovic, Hoilett, Morrison, McIntyre and now probably Azeez as well. That’s seven players who walk into the squad, most of whom walk into the first team, some of them walk into every team in this league.
The fans understand the need to get players back as quick as possible...
Cant wait to get some of these injured players had. Drinkwater, Laurent, Ejaria all get dropped for me. TDB back in the middle as well as all 4 have been poor recently #readingfc— Max Howard (@MaxHoward_15) October 23, 2021
Games like that are when you really feel the loss of Joao & Meite #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) October 23, 2021
Generally all round bad performance today just wasn’t happening. No need for over reaction. Not having the options off the bench that could change the game for us is a big miss. Getting Joao, meite, halilovic, hoilett etc will be massive. #readingfc— Callum (@Callumc1871) October 23, 2021
We're so desperate for bodies back, I know we keep saying it but the fact still remains having so many players missing makes it tough. No options to rotate each week & absolutely nothing from the bench. Team is flagging, hopefully players fit sooner rather than later #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) October 23, 2021
Jem Karacan spot on re reasons for performance/result. 1)Tired starting eleven. 2) No real options to freshen up from squad/bench. 3) Players need to take responsibility on the pitch. 4) Lacking true leader(s) on pitch. #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) October 23, 2021
Best of the rest
The fans were quick to tweet their thoughts after the game, but there was a mixed reaction. Some keen to discuss the tiredness of the players, which was again evident on Saturday. Some tweeted their concerns with Pauno’s tactics. Some keen to move on to *gulps* Bournemouth next weekend.
I usually, as you know, whittle all the tweets into three main talking points, but that’s been a tricky task this week. Take a look at the ‘best of the rest’ reaction below...
Just saying, if anyone’s says pauno out, your clueless. Fair enough we were good enough today but see the bigger picture. He’s trying to do his best with the injuries and the squad he’s got. He’s working under an embargo and has still brought in some class players #readingfc 1/2— Jacob Newman (@JacobN_789) October 23, 2021
A bright first quarter, but then just tired legs and tired minds. They need a proper rest before next Saturday because this falling apart in the 2nd half WILL keep happening if they don't. We have no players to even change it up#ReadingFC— Christopher Hamblin (@ChrisH1871) October 23, 2021
My! how we are a team of form good and bad would not surprise me I loose the next 3 then win the next 5 #readingfc— Rob Cooper (@RobertC89059161) October 23, 2021
Manager blaming fatigue. He's got an excuse for everything. Never his fault. He uses the same players game after game , only makes 1 sub and has no gameplan. Use Clarke, Camara etc more. Switch formation just something different. My patience with him is thinning #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) October 23, 2021
We need to play Clarke and Puscas together up front, see what they can do together #readingfc— John Swift Szn (@JohnSwiftSzn) October 23, 2021
Our fan base is so reactionary, everyone loving Laurent a few weeks ago for his insane performance at CB and now after a few losses, people blaming him #readingfc— EjariaSZN #BLM (@Ejaria14SZN) October 23, 2021
It wasn’t as bad as Wednesday, which isn’t saying much, but it still was nowhere near good enough. However, on another day, it could’ve gone our way. I don’t think we got dominated, it was just two moments in the game that killed us off and we just didn’t have an answer.
Thankfully, we’ve got a week now to rest and recover before a huge game next weekend. Bournemouth haven’t lost this season, and will give us our toughest game of the season so far. We have to up our game for it from what we’ve seen in the last couple of games, otherwise it could be messy.