Well, that was a disaster wasn’t it. We haven’t been great for a while now, but Tuesday night summed it all up in one 90 minutes. Questionable tactics, abject performances, debatable decision making from players and staff, and gilt-edged chances blown - all things we’ve gotten used to recently, and all things that need to be eradicated sharpish.
We started off sloppy and second best, but gradually grew into the game, missing a couple of really good chances through Andy Rinomhota and Ovie Ejaria, and things were looking okay at half time. In the second half it all fell to pieces though.
A really, really poor goal to concede, along with baffling subs from Pauno and a missed Lucas Joao penalty to equalise all culminated into the worst 45 minutes of football we’ve seen from Reading in a very, very long time. And the fans were not happy. Not one bit.
Here’s how they all reacted to some of the key talking points. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t really make for positive reading...
More criticism for Pauno
Before a ball had even been kicked, the fans were in a bit of a sour mood - and that’s down to Paunovic’s choice of starting eleven.
It was just baffling. Utterly, utterly baffling. I completely understand that there is no easy game in this league, but in my opinion bottom of the league should be adjusting their lineup to combat how fifth in the league play. Not the other way round.
And then, to make things worse, Pauno went and subbed Olise off when we were 1-0 down, which is one of the most confusing tactical decisions I’ve seen a Reading manager make in a very long time.
I think it’s more than fair to criticise Pauno for Tuesday night. He is by no means immune from criticism, but, from looking through these tweets, I have to say the reaction seems, to me, very knee-jerk. I urge all fans to not forget where we were as a club before Pauno arrived. Step back, look at the bigger picture.
Here's what the fans had to say...
Some of the decisions that Pauno has made this season are baffling. Why did it take him 84 minutes to take off one of our FOUR centre backs? Why did he take of Ovie and Olise? We can't be losing games like that if we're serious about promotion. #readingfc— Tom (@tommietannk) February 23, 2021
that’s probably the biggest blot on Pauno’s record. Can’t understand those subs/lack of subs. Not helped by his keeper who MUST NOT be first choice next season #readingfc— PG (@P_GMusic) February 23, 2021
1-0 loss to bottom of the league with 10 men. I have no words. Yet again Pauno set us up wrong and has to take the majority of the responsibility. Felt like I was watching us under Paul Clement again #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) February 23, 2021
What does Semedo have on Pauno?? Taking off ejaria and olise before him is a sackable offence #readingfc— Harrison Leigh (@HarrisonLeigh10) February 23, 2021
Pauno has got it wrong too many times this season, most losses have been down to the manager and I’m starting to think that’s not a coincidence #readingfc— DINGGGG (@LAUR3N1Dingg) February 23, 2021
Pauno is getting it wrong more often than not now. His lack of game management is becoming more and more apparent with each game #readingfc— Dan (@DanTheMan__98) February 23, 2021
For me. Pauno left it far too long to make the subs and when he did he brought on the wrong ones and took the wrong ones off. As soon as they went to 10 puscas, yiadom and Richards should have all come on and gone all out attack. Absolutely fuming after that #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) February 23, 2021
Its poor from Pauno to set the team up so defensively tonight. He was clearly worried about their physicality. But ultimately, you don't play 4 CBs and 3 DMs against bottom of the league. That's Pullis-esque. #readingfc— Jonathan Holdstock (@JH7123) February 23, 2021
Little bit confused why Pauno picks playing bottom of the league to leave out the two attacking full backs #readingfc ♂️— adam bicknell (@bicknell_adam) February 23, 2021
I’ve defended Pauno’s teams recently but today is unforgivable. Poor lineup and lack of subs is so poor #ReadingFC— Mark Fidgett (@MarkFidgett) February 23, 2021
A new low
This season, for the majority, has been a season full of highs. So when you hit a low, it hurts more than ever. And Tuesday night was well and truly a new low. Pauno said after the Boro game that he would prepare his warriors for Tuesday, but his warriors didn't turn up.
The players looked dejected, out of ideas and off the pace, and they’ve set themselves up for a make-or-break scenario, which is exactly what we’re in now. We’re lucky that our destiny still lies in our own hands, but it won't be for much longer if we continue playing like that.
I’ve gathered a lot of tweets into this one category because, in honesty, it was hard to narrow down the fans’ anger into two or three different ones. But I think you'll be able to get the overall gist of how the fans were feeling on Tuesday evening...
Woke up in a cold sweat this morning. Had this nightmare where we started with 4 CBs & 3 DMs against bottom of the league Wycombe, missed a pen, took our 2 most creative players off & ended up losing to a side reduced to 10 men. Thank God it was just a bad dream, right?#readingfc— Oli Bryant (@OliB_RFC) February 24, 2021
Playing people out of position again. Complete shocking performance from team. So so bad. Tactically poor and no subs till last 10 minutes. Were no way good enough for play offs this season. #readingfc— steve richardson (@Rich1Steve) February 23, 2021
Embarrassing. I still want to be positive and believe that we can secure a play off place, but we need to sort our form out and beat teams that we should be beating (no disrespect to Wycombe of course).#readingfc https://t.co/7FAvjSKzbQ— Matthew Stevens (@mattecho2000) February 23, 2021
Sorry to say but that is embarrassing losing that tonight. Wycombe are truly truly dreadful, and that has to be a real concern going forward. João has been brilliant this season but has to take a lot flack tonight, shocking penalty again and not at the races #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) February 23, 2021
Absolutely embarrassing performance & poor decision making against bottom of the league, goodbye play offs #readingfc— josh (@joshhunt7_) February 23, 2021
Embarrassing performance. Showed no fight, no passion, no urgency and so slow and lethargic. Also Pauno left it so late to make subs. Not good enough. Big changes needed for Saturday #readingfc— AidenRFC (@AidenRFC_) February 23, 2021
bad performances allround. such a negative set up and horrendous in game management from pauno. started with 7 defensive players against bottom of the league. subs too late & wrong, took off our ONLY creative players against a deep block? make it make sense. terrible. #readingfc— ً (@_jord19x) February 23, 2021
Fans keeping their cool
I cannot believe that I'm writing a talking point like this after losing 1-0 away to 10-man bottom of the league, but I'm so bloody happy I am. It’s another sign of how Pauno has changed the whole culture of the club, and it's starting to rub off on the fans.
Yes, we were bad. Yes, Joao missed another penalty. Yes, Pauno’s decisions were questionable to say the least. Yes, the players didn’t look up for it and got bullied. But come on guys. Our fate is in our own hands, we’ve bounced back before and we'll bounce back again.
There were a lot of fans looking at the bigger picture after the Wycombe game...
I think it’s fine to question the managers subs and line up time to time and recently he’s got it wrong in my opinion. Millwall sub and today for example. To judge Pauno so far this season I think he’s done a cracking job and fully back him. Just needs the tide to turn #readingfc— Joe Hindmarsh (@JoeHindmarsh16) February 23, 2021
There are some fans tweeting Pauno out... surely thats a wind up?#ReadingFC— Chris Reinholter (@mrchrisr91) February 23, 2021
Classic from our fan base some form and we go from top two contenders go being lucky to even finish in the top half— Will Sumner (@willsumner09) February 24, 2021
Even just from our homes we’ve got to keep supporting them
Yeah pauno got it wrong massively last night but thats up to him to fix
We go again Saturday #readingfc
I’ve had this feeling all year, I just think that this season is 1 year too early for us.— Alex Stone (@alexgstone) February 24, 2021
Building a promotion winning culture takes time, and we have seen some clear positives from Pauno.
Replace those that leave in the summer and build some depth and we’ll challenge.#readingfc
Calling for Pauno's head & saying we won't make top 6 is very reactionary. The man deserves huge credit for where we are.— Sean (@sean_rich96) February 23, 2021
That said, the most embarrassing & horiffic result for MANY years. Bizarre team selection, tactics & substitutions, there is pride to restore Sat. #readingfc
Every team has blips in form, let's hope ours doesn't last long and cost us. Keep the faith #readingfc— Mark Lawrence (@MLawrenceJourno) February 23, 2021
Calling the Manager out is a joke, he’s done so well with what he been left with in this squad & after 32 games were sitting in the playoffs, yeah we’ve had a few sloppy games but this manager will get us going again have faith #readingfc— Miles (@Milesyyy12) February 23, 2021
Some of the tweets on here tonight....— Alex Stone (@alexgstone) February 23, 2021
I’m seeing shouts of Pauno Out and dropping Joao, who’s scored almost half our goals
We could lose the rest of our games and it’ll still be our best season for half a decade.. Accept that poor form happens and move on. #readingfc
In Pauno we trust #readingfc bad day at the office. Only up from here. Those saying pauno out etc are the same that said the Reading way is over at the start of the season bla bla bla #embarrassing #plasticroyals 5 points off last seasons tally already— Brad Matthews (@BradMatthews8) February 23, 2021
What an absolute mammoth of a fans verdict that is, eh? And rightly so as it's the most controversial game of the season so far, full of talking points, but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.
There are still 14 games to go, but the players now have the choice of whether they’re going to sink or swim. It’s down to them.
Keep the faith.