If it was possible to encapsulate the wide range of emotions supporting this club gives you into just seven days, the last week is probably the closest you’re going to get. I know every club is the same in terms of being a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions, but this club is something else.
From cloud nine last Saturday after the perfect London away day, to then come thudding back down the earth with the news of an apparent impending points deduction and more injury woes, to then go straight back up to cloud nine with another huge win against ‘Boro.
Pauno has remained adamant though that, despite the off-field doom and gloom, confidence is still high amongst the players - and after watching that 90 minutes on Saturday, it’s hard not to agree with him.
It was a really, really good performance, especially when you take in the fact that eight of our 10 outfield players were midfielders. The fans were in a wonderful mood after the game, and who can blame them? Here’s how they reacted to the key talking points...
I think it’s fair to say that eyebrows were raised when we sealed the signing of this guy. Let’s be honest, it had all the ingredients of a classic ‘transfer flop’. A high-earning Premier League player, who had hardly kicked a ball since 2017, dropping down a division to join a team with a vast amount of off-field trouble.
However, in only his second game in a Reading shirt, it’s clear to see he’s got more than enough to offer this season. His brain just works quicker than most others on a football pitch, and we’ve missed a player who can break lines from midfield for a long, long time.
The fans were certainly impressed with Danny’s performance on Saturday...
Thought Danny Drinkwater oozed class today. Some shift #readingfc— Rob Nutley (@Rnutley) September 25, 2021
Danny Drinkwater completed the most passes, had the most successful passes and the most touches yesterday. As I’ve said, he walks in the team, he’s class, his brain works faster than anyone else’s #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) September 26, 2021
Drinkwater’s composure on the ball and passing is just a level above in the Championship #readingfc— Mark Fidgett (@MarkFidgett) September 25, 2021
#readingfc Danny Drinkwater was a class above today. A constant voice in midfield picking up everyone on silly decisions, trying to guide the and shape the midfield on playing it out effectively. Can't wait to see how he grows into that role— Daniel Banks (@DanBanksPhoto) September 25, 2021
We’re gonna resurrect Drinkwater’s career. Top Player. #readingfc— Chris (@ChrissRFC) September 25, 2021
Championship football is a bit easy for Danny Drinkwater. #readingfc— Anthony Kendrick (@AJKendrick) September 25, 2021
One word.. Drinkwater, what a player, always wanting the the ball and kept us ticking over. So nice be back in the outside world, free from covid and bedroom isolation!! Enjoy the rest of the weekend now #readingfc #uptheding— Simon Edwards (@Madstad109) September 25, 2021
The makeshift defence
I was fearing the worst going into Saturday. I know Laurent stepped in brilliantly against Fulham at centre back, but with injuries to Holmes and Morrison in that game too. That left us in a very precarious position.
In the end, Pauno went with Tetek at right back, Yiadom and Laurent at centre-back and Rahman at left back. And, with that back four, we managed to come away with our first clean sheet of the season. Absolutely outstanding.
All four of them were incredible. I can’t praise them all enough, and I think the fans feel the same judging by their reaction after the game...
So much to adore about that performance, but the clean sheet is top of that list for me.— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) September 25, 2021
First time I’ve been properly proud of our boys since…well, last weekend. #readingfc
Recording a first clean sheet in 5 months on the day we name a side with no CB's is probably the most Reading thing ever. #readingfc— Sam (@1871sam) September 25, 2021
#boro's best chance of the game came from their GK. Sums up their performance nicely.— Joel (@jcrfc1871) September 25, 2021
As for ours, we kept out first clean sheet of the season without playing a centre back. Laurant had the game of his life#readingfc #REAMID
Reading get their first clean sheet of the season with 0 CB’s on the pitch.— Micah (@1871M1C4H) September 25, 2021
that right there, is The Reading Way #readingfc
That really was a clean sheet!! I've not been dreaming - or drinking. Woo-hoo!! #readingfc— Karz From The 'Ding ☕ (@FFSKarz) September 25, 2021
Credit goes to the back four today, with all but Baba playing out of position. They did their duties and were resolute. Special mention to Dejan Tetek, for a young CM to perform like that at RB is outstanding. #readingfc— Ewan (@ewan_sparrow) September 25, 2021
Great result today, defence can give em selfs a big pat on the back, @JoshLaurent28 in particular, propa professional slotted into that centre half slot like he’s played there all his life, after today I think messi will be watching videos of swifty, uppa royals #readingfc— Elliot (@elliotbarton) September 25, 2021
Massive win that. Defence were class. Tetek and Halilovic really stood out #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) September 25, 2021
A huge three points
There was praise for pretty much every Royal who stepped out onto the pitch at Saturday lunch time, and that’s a mark of just how good the overall performance was.
Yes, ‘Boro were poor, but with the team we put out and the potential off-field distractions, to put in a performance as professional and as comfortable as we did is a credit to every single member of the club. It’s a credit to the players and it’s a credit to every single member of staff.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And at the moment, we’re showing we’re made of tough stuff.
GET IN THERE!!!! 3 wins on the bounce! That’s massive! Fantastic battle to the end. Tetek and Swift are both MOTM for me, Hope Tetek and Hoilett are alright. GET IN THERE YOU MIGHTY ROYALLLLSSSSSS!!!!! ⚪️ #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) September 25, 2021
WHAT A WIN!!!— MarkRobson (@MarkRobson15) September 25, 2021
Clean Sheet, Great defending, Great Teamwork, Warrior Sprit, Nice Attacking, Paunovic shutting up the haters AGAIN!!
Good day! #readingfc
Got lucky with the red, but we deserved the win. What a performance #readingfc— Zac (@ZacLONDON_31) September 25, 2021
Very good win that considering everyone who is out injured. Also really liked how Pauno was telling all the players to go and clap all the fans around the ground at the end of the game. Up the ding! #readingfc— Joel (@Jdh72Joel) September 25, 2021
Very satisfying. Massive injury list, points deduction hanging over us but three straight wins and a clean sheet with no fit centre backs. Well done Pauno. #readingfc— Hob Nob Anyone? (@hobnobanyone) September 25, 2021
Massive win for the royals today. Hard fought and drive. #readingfc— Andy mitchell (@Andymit12) September 25, 2021
Just a wonderful, wonderful win. With how things have gone so far this season, it’d be easy for the players to drop their heads and feel sorry for themselves. But the last four games have showed that that is exactly what this team won’t do.
They were brilliant all over the pitch. And wins like this are even more important when you factor in the possible points deduction. It’s so important we keep picking up points to make that deduction as limited damage as possible.