You feel a bit for the players going into games such as this one, because it’s a lose-lose for them. If they go out, play well and win comfortably, the backlash will be that they only turn it on when they don't really need to, and if they go and get humiliated then they'll get criticised for not honouring the game and for already being on the beach. And we saw a mix of those two things in my opinion on Saturday.
In the first half, we played well. Going 1-0 up and causing Norwich a lot of problems with John Swift, Ovie Ejaria and Michael Olise in particular looking threatening every time they got the ball. However, as soon as Norwich pegged one back before half time, we never really got going again.
In the end, it was a game that showed the gulf in class between the two sides and proved why Norwich are going up as Champions and why we’re ending the season outside the top six.
The second half was really bad. We started on the back foot as the hosts put their pedal to the metal, and as soon as Dowell bagged his and his team’s second, it went catastrophically downhill.
Here’s how the fans reacted after the game...
In recent weeks, Pauno has come under some serious fire from the Loyal Royals - some deserved, some not so much. He is not immune to criticism just because of the start he had, but that start should also not be forgotten either.
I genuinely don’t think we’ve seen Pauno’s style of play or how he genuinely wants this team to play. He joined two weeks before the season and it’s a well-known fact that time on the training pitch actually working on tactics has been at a minimum throughout the season.
He needs and deserves time - which is a statement that some fans agree with, but some don’t...
Paunovic will do well to survive this end of season capitulation. #readingfc— Andy Povey (@andypovey) May 1, 2021
Need to give Pauno a summer to build his squad, some of the players in this one are seriously questionable #readingfc— RFC (@dingaidan_) May 1, 2021
I want Pauno to stay but I wouldn’t be surprised if the owners make a change this summer. One win in 10 and consistently awful performances when they’ve got a history of changing managers. #readingfc— Louis Stagg (@dinglouis_) May 1, 2021
how can people want pauno sacked? would be stupid. he’s only going to get better and learn from this season. hopefully he can start next season with a bigger squad full of players he actually wants #readingfc— ً (@_jord19x) May 2, 2021
Can’t believe all those saying Pauno has to get sacked after next week... absolutely not. He’s been a breath of fresh air that we’ve needed for a long time. He genuinely cares about this football club and wants to do everything to succeed. #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) May 2, 2021
Anyone thinking Pauno needs the sack needs to give their head a wobble. Seventh is an over achievement, bizzare budget constraints and strong starting 11 but overall a poor squad, give him time to rebuild and go again. #readingfc— Fred (@OneFredOne) May 2, 2021
The second half of this season has been a capitulation in its entirety to be honest, but Saturday was one in itself.
The first half was good, and we deserved to at least be level at the break. However, the second half summed up our current confidence, swagger and mojo as a team, as we showed absolutely none of them.
Mistakes were flying around all over the gaff, and the fans weren’t happy...
Shocking back pass by Tom Holmes. Pretty much sums up the latter half of the season #readingfc— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) May 1, 2021
I can’t stress this enough! Get rid of this passing it back to the GK style of play. It’s so negative and is holding us back #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) May 1, 2021
This is probably me being picky but surely Lewis Gibson needs to at least try and put a tackle in on Pukki for the fourth goal???!!! Roll on the summer, big changes needed #readingfc— Jamie Collis (@JamieCollis1995) May 1, 2021
Momentum is a huge word in football, and it's so important. Whether that’s positive momentum or negative momentum, it has a huge impact on the team, how they play and the results they get. We have absolute none of it at the moment.
It’s like deja vu of last season - but it’s been even more depressing this time round considering the position we’d put ourselves in. We’ve just completely run out of steam and ideas, and that’s the problem of having a team full of flair players.
When it goes right for players like Lucas Joao, Swift, Ejaria and Olise, it’s a joy to behold. But when it’s not going their way, games pass them by, they tend to sulk and then they become invisible and we lose games.
One win in 10 games is very worrying for the fans...
One win in 10 games at the end of the season is piss-poor by anyone’s standards. #readingfc— Paul Smith (@Skeptichead) May 1, 2021
Frustrating again. Architects of our own downfall today. 1 win in 10 is inexcusable. Very poor end to this season, there are a lot of questions that need to be asked #readingfc— Dominic (@domwindle) May 1, 2021
Yet another dreadful performance. Certainly not a dip, we’ve been this bad since January. The only win has been against Derby and they’ve lost every game since. The freak start has disguised how poor we are. Need major shakeup this summer. #readingfc— Paul Smith (@Skeptichead) May 1, 2021
1 win in 10 makes you forget the start to the season we had and good job we had it! Only positive for me is Olise, some serious work needing to be done over next 3 months, hope the scouts have been watching lower league players of any talent @willow1871 #readingfc— Darren Seward (@darrenjseward) May 1, 2021
The form in the final 3rd of the season is unacceptable. Pauno has to get it right in the summer, if he's still here. Dai's can't be happy with our finish, but must understand this squad is average apart from a few players. Make or break summer for the club #ReadingFC— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) May 1, 2021
What an utterly pathetic end to the season we are having. Players downing tools is never a good look and they are undoing all of the good work they did in the first half of the season. #readingfc— Nath St Paul (@NathStPaul) May 1, 2021
9 points from a possible 30 WTAF. Pathetic end to the season #readingfc— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) May 1, 2021
Another painful end to a season. I don’t think we necessarily saw the players down tools on Saturday, it’s just the fact that this team is so bereft of confidence and a shadow of the one we saw in the first half of the season.
From January onwards it’s been a bit of a chore watching this team. I’m just praying, above all else, that a) Pauno gets a chance to build something and b) we actually have the capability to build something. I'm very worried about this summer, and am dreading where we’ll be come August in all honesty...
Onwards and upwards I guess.