I’ve said it time and time again this season, but Pauno has really instilled a different mentality into the fans - well, he’s instilled it into me, anyway. I’ve very rarely woke up the day after a game still feeling the emotion of the game itself; what’s been has gone and all eyes have to be on the next game.
But on Saturday I woke up still absolutely seething - and I'm sure I wasn't the only one feeling like that. My mind is still in overdrive: will that miss cost us the play-offs? Are we going to go the whole season sitting in the top six and then bottle it when it really matters? How on earth is Pauno going to pick the players up after this? These are just some of the questions that have been running through my mind since about 7:30pm on Good Friday.
The rest of the fans, I’m sure, I know, are feeling exactly the same. It’s a draw that feels like more than a loss, it feels like it’s the end of our season. But it’s important to state that it’s not - there are still seven huge, huge games to go and we need to be behind the players for every single one of them.
Here’s how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points...
Let’s start with the good. And it was very good. The kind of good we all know Ovie can produce, but also the kind of good he doesn’t produce consistently enough.
Ejaria is the epitome of ice cool. Football is just too easy for him, which as good as it sounds, is probably his biggest downfall too. But when he produces the run, touch and finish that he did on Friday, it frustrates you as much as it wow’s you. Because he has the ability to do that so much more than he currently does.
This obviously happened before the calamitous second half, so the fans were in a good mood...
YESSSSSSS EJARIA!!!!!! we 1000% deserved that goal. Get in there ⚪️ #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) April 2, 2021
Oh what a bit of control and finish from Ejaria ⚽️ #readingfc— Paul Hunsdon (@Hunsy1969) April 2, 2021
What a goal Ovie Ejaria. Absolutely love that #ReadingFC— Ollie Sirrell (@olliesirrell) April 2, 2021
EJARIA!!!! THAT NEW TRIM HAS MADE YOU SCORE! PLEASE HAVE A HAIRCUT BEFORE EVERY GAME!!!— Reading FC Blue And White Wall (@bluewhitewall) April 2, 2021
GET IN! URZZZZZZ#READINGFC
Onto the bad. And this was very bad. It was a stupid, stupid thing for Yiadom to do, especially considering Holmes had dealt with the incoming cross with no problems at all.
You just can't put your arm round another player's throat and expect to get away with it. Nine times out of 10 the ref doesn't see it and you get away with, but unfortunately for Yids the ref did see this one, so he can have absolutely no complaints.
Joao’s miss will make this error go under the radar, but it's another individual mistake that cost us at a time in the game where we were looking as comfortable as we had done all game. And it left the fans fuming...
Fair play to Joao, ultimate team player... that unreal miss has totally covered over Yiadom’s inexplicably stupid foul for the Barnsley penalty #readingfc— Colin White (@_col__83) April 2, 2021
Now time for the ugly, the very, very ugly. I love Lucas as much as the rest of us, but how many howlers is he going to miss? We’ve already seen them at Wycombe, Forest and Preston and also in the last game against QPR - but this one tops the lot.
I don't need to say how bad it is, read the tweets below and you’ll find the fans have done that job for me, but what worries me the most is what state his confidence will be in now.
Pauno has a big job on his hands now. It’s easy for us to say that Joao needs to be dropped to get him out of the spotlight, but Lucas strikes me as the kind of player who might go into his shell even more if that does happen. It’s a balancing act that needs to be done by Pauno, but it’s a balancing act that will have a huge say in how our season pans out.
Here's what the fans had to say...
This is the moment prior to Joao’s chance. His attitude, behaviour and general demeanour is defeatist. As always, he doesn’t look ready. Both mentally and physically. No wonder he missed, he latched onto the ball in a world of his own, accepting he won’t score. #readingfc pic.twitter.com/AYkJZ6egby— Ed Ryding (@EdRyding) April 2, 2021
Puscas needs to start next game. Joao has no confidence atm and his attitude has been poor #readingfc— AidenRFC (@AidenRFC_) April 2, 2021
Joao has to be given a break. Confidence shot and attitude all wrong as a result. Puscas to start next game. #readingfc— Paul Smith (@Skeptichead) April 2, 2021
Didn’t even warrant a start recently beforehand. Joao needs dropping for Monday. Puscas is more than good enough, and Joao needs a break. Been nowhere near good enough the last few months. #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) April 2, 2021
Joao really has the most polar opposite performances when he’s in form and off it. Confidence is in bits. Maybe needs a sports psychologist similar to what Moore had? #readingfc— Alex (@alexr1871) April 2, 2021
Can't stop watching that miss. Leave him out for Derby and give Puscas a go? Tough to make the playoffs now but if we do, need Joao on form. #readingfc— Melvir (@Melvir88) April 2, 2021
Joao has to be dropped for monday— Will Sumner (@willsumner09) April 2, 2021
His recent performances haven’t been up to scratch and puscas has shown his quality of late when given a chance to
People will say it’ll kill his confidence put putting the team first + his confidence is already low #ReadingFC
It’s out of our hands but it's not over. Not by any means. However, like I said before, how on earth Paunovic is going to lift the players after that I don't know - but he will have to do that or else the play-off dream will be over.
If you watch Liam Moore’s interview with both Sky and the Reading media team from after the game, he sounded distraught. And that’s one of the senior players. We have to pick ourselves up.
If we get a fully firing Joao back, we get into the play offs, no problem. I know that seems a long, long way off now but its not impossible.