There was a need for a reaction after what we were subjected to last Wednesday. The players owed it to every fan, and to their manager, to up their game tenfold against QPR - as we all know, it was nowhere near good enough against Birmingham.
I think it’s fair to say that there was definitely improvement from the players - which isn’t a hard thing to achieve I have to say. But, again, not killing teams off has cost us. We look a shadow of the team that won seven of its first eight in terms of finishing our chances - and if we continue in this vein, it will cost us our top-six spot, there’s no sugarcoating that.
The fans declared this a must-win game after the Birmingham horror show, and the fact of the matter is we didn’t win it. And now our play-off place is no longer in our hands, as Bournemouth have their game in hand on us and a better goal difference to boot.
That, for me, has to be the final takeaway from this game. Yes we were better than we were on Wednesday, yes the players looked out on their feet at the end of the game showing how much they put in, but ultimately we’ve lost out and now our fate is no longer in our own hands.
The fans did have room to praise a couple of individuals, but I think it’s fair to say the overriding emotion, again, is one of the utter frustration and disappointment...
We all know how good this guy can be. His only ever problem has been his consistency; he can look like a world beater one game but non-existent the next.
His quality, technical ability and footwork are second to none really - perhaps in the entire league - but I think it’s fair to say there have always been question marks above his end product, and at the end of the day that’s the difference between having potential and fulfilling it.
However, against QPR, Ovie had his dancing shoes on and, on top of that, he produced eight key passes and should've really had himself an assist too, but Joao couldn’t tap the ball into an empty net.
The fans will be hoping for more of the same from Ovie in the next eight games...
His best game for us yesterday— Louis Stagg (@dinglouis_) March 21, 2021
Always been a big critic of ovie but happy to say, I ate my words yesterday. Great display and that needs to be the standard from him for the final 8.— Deck (@dsaund6) March 21, 2021
Ovie Ejaria.— Niall - Guilty, I support Reading. (@Reading106) March 20, 2021
Back to his best today. Fantastic.#Readingfc
Ejaria is having a great game. Back to his best.#ReadingFC— The Belfast Biscuit (@BelfastBiscuit) March 20, 2021
Ejaria coming with the loan Ovie Vibes #readingfc— jacob ainscough (@ainscough_jacob) March 20, 2021
Credit where it’s due, and I have been critical before, Ejaria is having an incredible game today #readingfc— Harry Smith (@harrysmithEFL) March 20, 2021
I don’t think any Reading fan will ever, ever question Meite’s importance to this team ever again. He is carrying us at the moment, and there’s a fair argument to say that if he hadn’t have scored the goals he has recently, our top-six hopes would be well and truly over.
It also amplifies how big of a loss this guy has been for the majority of this season. If he’d have stayed fit then there’s fair ground to say our play-off spot would be pretty much safe and secure, and we might even be aiming even higher.
He’s arguably one of only a handful (at best) players who can come out of the last three games with any real credit. The fans definitely know how important he is to us...
There's two players in this squad who are simply irreplaceable.— Matt (@lines_aviation) March 20, 2021
One is John Swift, the other is Yakou Meite.
The passion that man has for the club is unrivalled, such an incredibly important player for us on so many levels.#Readingfc https://t.co/uDFF78SKS6
YESSSSS CAN ALWAYS RELY ON KING MEITE!!!!!! Brilliant bit of play ⚪️ #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) March 20, 2021
I, Eddie Wallbank, vow to never criticise Yakou Méïté ever again. Carrying #ReadingFC right now.— Eddie Wallbank (@EddieRFC7) March 20, 2021
Following this club is not easy. In fact, it’s pretty torturous. We won seven out of our first eight, and have spent the entire season sitting pretty in the top six, with spirits as high as I’ve seen them among the fans, players and staff. And now, with eight games to go, when it really matters, we’re all seriously panicking about whether we’re going to finish in the top six or not.
You can say that whatever happens it's been a good, progressive season and yes, to an extent I agree with that. But success is relative, and if we don’t finish in the top six now you can’t say that’s a success.
The fans are worried, frustrated, angry, disappointed. It’s a far cry from how we were all feeling not so long ago, now it’s up to the players to turn this mood back around...
This side just don't have the big game mentality. Playing like a mid table side with one eye on their holidays, rather than a side fighting to secure a playoff place. #ReadingFC— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) March 20, 2021
It's good that we are still in the play off positions but real issue is that we're not playing like we're in the play off positions. #readingfc— BobbinsRoyale (@BobbinsRoyale) March 20, 2021
I’m nervous watching every game now, we all hope we’ll get the results we should get but I think deep down most of us know it’s inevitable we’ll drop out the top 6, it feels like a matter of when #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) March 20, 2021
If we drop out the top 6 no chance we’re getting back in. Once again players are letting the manager and fans down. We all know the team are SO MUCH better than what we’ve seen recently #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) March 20, 2021
not good enough that, last 15 were abysmal. subs weren’t good at all. have to really rely on more poor results from bournemouth and barnsley if we want top 6 #readingfc— ً (@_jord19x) March 20, 2021
Massive game against Barnsley, an absolute must win. We still have derby, watford,Cardiff,luton,Swansea,Norwich and huddersfield to play. Play off looking unlikely but not impossible #ReadingFC— Daniel Whiteside (@Dan_Whiteside_6) March 20, 2021
I'm thinking now we #readingfc should be comfortable now in 3rd place. The points weve thrown away instead we need another 5 wins to get top 6 we'll never get another better chance of playoff's its attroucious we not there allready.— Paul Penny (@ppenny1362) March 20, 2021
We don't do things the easy way do we? These next eight games are the biggest run of games in the club’s recent history in my opinion. The players have a point to prove, and we have four of the top six still to play.
This is the definition of crunch time, and it’s up to the players now. What are they made of? How much do they want it? Do we want it more than Bournemouth and Barnsley? Three questions will all learn the answers too in the not too distant future.
The international break has come at a good time for us. And then we have a huge, HUGE trip to Oakwell coming up on Good Friday. I'm nervous already.