It’s been said time and time again by the fans on Twitter over the last few weeks, but when it gets to this stage of the season, it’s really not about how you play - it’s about getting the three points. Tuesday night was another example of this, and suggests it’s the philosophy that Pauno has begun to adopt too.
Before Tuesday night, we’d won back-to-back league games once since the end of October, and that is not the kind of record that play-off teams have. So it was vitally important that, regardless of the performance, we managed to get our second win on the trot.
There are a lot of similarities between Saturday’s game against Rotherham United and Tuesday night’s encounter with Rovers, but the opposition were very different. On Saturday, we showed fight, grit and passion in abundance to combat the Millers’ more direct, rumbustious style of play.
Against Blackburn however, a team who like to keep the ball on the deck and zip it around, we showed an incredible amount of defensive discipline and our shape and structure were impeccable for 90 minutes - something that really impressed the fans.
Here’s a round-up of the best bits to come from Twitter after the game. The fans were in a complimentary mood and for good reason - a win will always manage to put a smile on faces...
Puski beast. I’d forgotten how much I love this bloke. Puscas showed exactly why he can still be such an important player for us this season with his performance on Tuesday. His hold-up play was the best I’ve seen it since he joined; he looked sharp in the box - going close once before finding the back of the net - and you could see he was brimming with confidence with his audacious attempt from his own half.
The fans were loving his display - some even claiming it was his best in the blue and white hoops. And with Lucas Joao seeming to fade a bit recently, I think it’s a common consensus in the fanbase to say Puscas’ return could not have been timed any better...
Puscas is the man of the match tonight, no question. He's put in a real shift for us, he could be crucial over the next few weeks. #readingfc— Nath St Paul (@NathStPaul) March 2, 2021
Great result and fair play to Puscas, brilliant performance by him all round not just the goal #readingfc— Lee Wyeth (@leewyeth) March 2, 2021
“I missed a goal like bread and water” - Puscas. He is hungry for goals and for our team to succeed. Puscas impact will be vital now #readingfc— Jamie Burr (@Jamiepburr98) March 2, 2021
Puscas- I missed goals like bread and water. What a guy. Glad he looked so hungry tonight. Big player for the rest of the season #readingfc— Dan Gabriel (@DanG188) March 2, 2021
Puscas coming back is like putting on a pair of your old favourite trousers and finding 20 quid in the pocket #readingfc— Purty good thanks (@CheckmateBA) March 2, 2021
Joao will be looking over his shoulder today after that brilliant performance from Puscas. A nice headache for pauno to have for the upcoming games #readingfc— AidenRFC (@AidenRFC_) March 2, 2021
George Puscas absolutely immense tonight, best performance so far in a #readingfc shirt— McAnuff (M) (@CalvinRFC1871) March 2, 2021
One of the best performances I’ve seen from Puscas in a reading shirt . He seems rejuvenated and suits two up top soooo much better than his old lone striker role. #readingfc— Aaron Madigan (@madigan03) March 3, 2021
Absolute masterclass from Pușcaș tonight. Didn’t put a foot wrong all game. #readingfc— george (@talkmurtytome) March 2, 2021
Puscas wasn’t the only individual to grab the fans’ attention on Tuesday, and to be fair to the rest of the players, neither was Richards - but considering the week this lad has had, I think it’s fair to have him as a talking point.
Everybody is upset he’s leaving, but I hope to God that none of that emotion is aimed anywhere near the left back. The lad has just (apparently) sealed the move of his career to European champions Bayern Munich, and is still putting in performances like this for us - he’s an absolute gem.
He’s the best one-on-one defender I’ve seen in the league this season, and going forward he was at his best yet again against Blackburn.
The fans are in love with him and, although they are upset he is on his way out this summer, they’re delighted to still see the commitment he's putting in to try and get us that play off spot...
After hearing that the Richards deal was actually signed yesterday which could be true or not, but if it has I actually love it that’s he’s still giving everything, a lot of players would just lose interest, got a lot of respect for him and a very good player #readingfc— sam (@samwhite_RFC) March 2, 2021
Puscas will take the plaudits, rightly so. But thought Omar Richards was flawless too. Great to see him so committee after signing for Bayern #readingfc— Colin White (@_col__83) March 2, 2021
Great first half from Richards.— Paul Styles (@TQ_Royal) March 2, 2021
When the time comes for him to leave, we'll get millions for him........oh wait.... #readingfc
Hard fought win! Omar Richards best game in a very long time. Back to back wins. Can not grumble. URZ #readingfc— Joe Hindmarsh (@JoeHindmarsh16) March 2, 2021
You can see the confidence that Richards is playing with, imagine signing for the best team in the world and then going into a championship game with that mentality. Insane. #readingfc— Alex (@alex_elkay21) March 2, 2021
The way Richards is playing, you can see why Bayern paid all that money for him... #readingfc— Jack (@jacktindall1) March 2, 2021
Three more points
As I said before, it doesn’t matter how you win them at this point of the campaign, as long as you do win them - and judging by Twitter on Tuesday night, I think the majority of the fans agree with me on that.
Of course, like the Rotherham game, the fans would’ve had some nerves creeping in as Blackburn continued to keep possession - but if I'm truly honest, our structure and organisation was so good, I never really got overly worried that we were going to concede.
It was another throwback to the early stages of the season, when we scored first and saw out the game in a professional and comfortable manner. The fans are just happy to see that points tally keep on ticking as all eyes turned to Saturday’s visit of Sheffield Wednesday...
Huge 3 points. Nervy ending and by no means a comfortable victory, but a win’s a win. We sat back a bit too much at the end there for my liking and invited a lot of pressure, but we remained solid. Hopefully we can keep grinding out results and stay in the top 6 #readingfc— Oli Bryant (@OliB_RFC) March 2, 2021
Nowhere near a good performance but all about points at this stage. 3 more on we go. #readingfc— JDM (@RFC_Smurf93) March 2, 2021
Not an attractive second half, but job done! Massive 3 points and back to back wins for the first time in forever!— Alex Stone (@alexgstone) March 2, 2021
Puscas was excellent, loved the partnership with Joao.
Great result. #readingfc
2nd half we were poor in all honesty, conceded possession & put ourselves under unnecessary pressure. However we defended very well & grinding out ugly wins is never a bad trait. Definitely lots to work on in terms of game management I feel though, but a huge 3 points! #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) March 2, 2021
Ugly performance very scrappy that but we got the 3 points and that’s all that matters. Puscas absolute monster. Ran himself into the ground. Work rate outstanding. Would never known he hasn’t played for 3 months. 2 wins 2 clean sheets on the bounce. Go again sat #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) March 2, 2021
A win’s a win- not the most expansive but 3 points. Onto the next one #readingfc— James Earnshaw (@JamesEarnshaw10) March 2, 2021
A win’s a win. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn't great viewing, but who cares? It’s another three points to the tally and we keep some momentum going.
As ever though, the most important game is the next one, and we have to continue building that momentum as we head towards the business end of the season. It’s another huge opportunity for the players to make another statement.