Well, well, well. Where do we begin? Every time I think I’ve seen everything this football club has to offer, another chaotic Saturday afternoon incurs. It was just a bit of a mess of a performance to be honest, and one that understandably hasn't left the fans in a very good mood.
It was a game that largely followed the same process as the rest of our season so far. We looked bright enough going forward, but as a defensive unit, particularly in the second half, we looked stretched and vulnerable every time the Sky Blues went on the offensive - which unfortunately was constantly for about 40 minutes.
Yes Moore made a couple of really important blocks, and Rinomhota saved a certain goal with an interception at the back post - but my argument to that is why on earth does it have to be so last-ditch in the first place? We look all over the place at the moment and it's not good enough.
We got exactly what we deserved. The fact it was so late on doesn't even make me feel any worse because, in my mind, they were always going to score anyway. Here’s how the fans reacted...
The defending... again
We just look all over the place, don’t we? The signs were there from very early on as the hosts saw a free-headed chance put straight down Rafa’s throat, and it didn’t get hugely more impressive from then on out.
This isn’t just a rant at Morrison and Moore either (I actually thought they were *better* on Saturday - that doesn't mean I think they were good). Laurent and Rinomhota have been the foundations of this team since Pauno walked in, and both of them look well of it at the moment. They aren't giving the back four anywhere near the amount of protection they did last season.
It was summed up perfectly by the winning goal. Why on earth Liam Moore is appealing for offside there I will never know. It was a performance that frustrated the fans, who deserve better...
That defending is even worse than I thought it’d be, absolute embarrassment #readingfc https://t.co/6gROuXPkq6— Luke (@gibbsey517) August 21, 2021
And sadly, I have to look towards Liam Moore too. He’s our captain, supposed to be a leader and organiser, yet our defence is in this state?— Adam GC Jones (@ajonesrfc) August 21, 2021
I would be more forgiving if he’d played well - but he hasn’t for quite a while now.
Players have to be accountable #readingfc https://t.co/YyDEkPsATT
What a shambles our defence has become, TMac is not a left back #readingfc— Luke (@gibbsey517) August 21, 2021
Yiadom for the goal looks like he's never played in defence. Playing everyone on. Clearly out of position doesn't help. Poor defending by all of them. School boy. #readingfc— Dan Hindmarsh (@DanHindmarsh9) August 21, 2021
This isn't a defence of Pauno. He's failing rn.— Marcus Pike (@MarcusKPike) August 21, 2021
But there needs to be greater responsibility amongst our defenders. 3/4 are experienced professionals. They should be more than capable of some semblance of shape, or doing their jobs, regardless #readingfc
Experienced #ReadingFC defenders obviously buying into Veljko's defence strategy but it's not working as smoothly as it should be after all this time.— Mick Day (@MickDay99) August 21, 2021
#readingfc are an utter misery at the moment. Truly. The game management and defending is astonishingly bad pretty much every single week and they are getting what they deserve.— George Flood (@GeorgeFlood24) August 21, 2021
Our defence is non existent yet again #readingfc— Hoops (@Hoops_1871) August 21, 2021
Boy I do not envy this man one bit at the moment. He’s only just, after a year of being in charge, been able to sign his first permanent player, he’s stuck in a complete limbo with the transfer situation and he’s now in the midst of potentially another injury crisis.
I think we need to remember those things before calling for his head, but even I will admit that there are some things that those three factors don’t have any bearing on. And, yes, he’s made a few mistakes already this season and is deservedly coming under some criticism.
But the answer is not to get rid of him in my opinion. We’re lucky he’s still here, he would’ve been well within his rights to walk away from this mess a long time ago. However, the opinion on Pauno among the fans is definitely beginning to split - and some of his more than questionable comments post match didn't help his case very much either...
On Paunović, yes he can be frustrating at times, with subs etc but personally really don't see the benefit in sacking him at all. It would be tough for anyone at the club right now and the last thing we need is more uncertainty and change #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) August 21, 2021
I’m not Pauno out, but I’m seriously concerned at the lack of energy and poor tactics this season. #readingfc— Micah (@1871M1C4H) August 21, 2021
I understand that it’s hard for Pauno and his staff being under an embargo but they are still failing in their job to give the team an identity and to just give us some basic organisation. They are not blameless at all #readingfc— Harry Voice (@Harryvoicey) August 21, 2021
I understand the calls to sack Pauno even if I don’t agree with them, but if it happens who replaces him? What better manager is going to knowingly walk into our mess? #readingfc— brad (@bxm4214) August 21, 2021
Not been this deflated from a football match since the last PO Final. There’s a hell of a lot to fix. Not sure if Pauno is the man to get this underachieving group performing, he needs results fast or he’s out #ReadingFC— (@BigBadWolfRFC) August 21, 2021
Talk about the transfer embargo and Lack of options in the squad but the least you can do is set a team up properly and make them hard to beat? Been a big fan of pauno but any manager worth his salt is tactically astute. He's proving anything but atm. #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) August 21, 2021
Personally, I don’t get the Pauno out? I think he has a a lot to learn definitely. However, again he’s been dealt a difficult hand and we would want someone with pedigree and no one with that would touch this job. #readingfc— Louis Roberts (@LouisRobWrites) August 22, 2021
Got to love all the Pauno out supporters 4 games into the season getting on as if they’re tactical geniuses. Hate to break it to you but Pauno knows a lot more about football than you do. #readingfc pic.twitter.com/LctqRt4Rv1— Callum (@Callumc1871) August 22, 2021
After yesterday, I’m a lot calmer and should probably clarify, I’m not Pauno out. I’m seriously worried about some of his tactics but we’ve got to give him time, if we’ve only won a game or two by the end of September, then we can return to the question. #readingfc— Micah (@1871M1C4H) August 22, 2021
TWO wins from SIXTEEN games!— SOUTHBANK ⚽ 1️⃣8️⃣7️⃣1️⃣ (@longlaneroyal) August 21, 2021
Let that sink in everyone...just let that sink in.
Now explain to me why Paunovic deserves to stay as the manager of our club. #readingfc
Game after game I’m losing more and more faith in Pauno. #readingfc— AdamRFC (@adamaRFC) August 21, 2021
The main argument for keeping Paunovic seems to be that we wouldn’t get anyone better. Maybe. But that doesn’t change the fact that he’s proving to be another in an increasingly long list of poor managerial appointments. #readingfc— Phil C Green (@philcgreen) August 21, 2021
Really not a good day at the office, at all. There are a huge amount of errors at the moment that need to be fixed, but I also think we need to have patience - which I completely understand is a difficult thing for us as fans to have.
We pay our hard-earned money to come and watch our team play, a club that means so much to all of us and we are all entitled to our own opinions. It is hard to be patient with things you are so emotionally invested in. But we are four games into the season.
There is a huge amount of time left in this campaign, and I have complete trust in Paunovic to turn things around. It’s not just him, either. The players need to have a look at themselves too. Collectively, as a defensive unit, we look vulnerable whenever we get attacked at. We look weak in all honesty.
I’m just praying that we manage to get some faces in this week before the game up in Huddersfield, which, for the mindset of the players and the fans if not for league position, is starting to look like a must-win already.