The classic “we’ve got to take the positives” is probably the cliche in football that annoys me the most. 99.9% of the time it comes after a loss, so finding positives can be very difficult.
In the heat of the moment after the defeat, I couldn't care less if our performance was better than it has been. A) it’s not hard to improve on what we’ve endured recently and B) we still came away from the game with a grand total of 0 points.
However, having had time to calm down, as much as I hate the saying, we do have to take the positives. We’ve been in such a rut recently that anything we can be positive about we have to be, or else we’ll just stay in the miserable state we’ve been in recently.
Acknowledging improvements and still being annoyed at losing the game are not mutually exclusive. And, as you’d expect, a rollercoaster of a game led to a rollercoaster of emotions from the fans. Here’s how they reacted to a crazy game...
Puscas and Joao
These two were the big shining lights to come from the game in my opinion, particularly in the first half. Both of them got on the scoresheet and looked a real handful in the first 45 minutes.
Joao showed how much we’ve missed him (spoiler alert: a lot) and Puski put in arguably his best all-round performance in a Reading shirt. The Romanian made himself a nuisance all afternoon and showed all the commitment and fight that we’ve been craving to see in recent weeks.
The fans were certainly happy to see Lucas back and were impressed by Puscas...
Puscas and Joao together was always the plan since Gomes, finally we are seeing it! Both on the scoresheet brings a tear to my eye #readingfc— Alex Lane-Kieltyka (@alex_elkay21) January 22, 2022
Fair play Puscas great goal mate even though I give him lots of stick buzzing for him with his goal! He definitely needs a partner #readingfc— Rob (@RobertC89059161) January 22, 2022
Never thought I’d see the day that Joao and Puscas play together up top and both get on the scoresheet still gunna lose but nice to have something to get excited about #readingfc— Rob Knight (@robknight95) January 22, 2022
KING LUCAS JOAO IS BACK! Our goal machine! What a legend ⚪️ #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) January 22, 2022
Actually don’t think we were awful today. Much better performance with Joao & Puscas working well together. 2nd and 3rd goal should never have happened #readingfc— Ross (@rossm1871) January 22, 2022
I know that we lost again, trust me it frustrates every fan that we have just as much. But if we continue to only focus on the result then we will never get out the situation we’re in. The whole club - fans, manager, players - have to taken positives where we can and build on them.
There were definitely improvements on Saturday afternoon. I mean, we scored three goals, which is as many as we managed in the entirety of 2021 before Saturday. We managed to get some key players back in the minutes, and in other games going 2-1, then 3-2 down would’ve been game over for us but we managed to come back twice.
It’s all in vain I know, but there were fans who managed to see some improvements...
Really enjoyed that yanno, shame about the loss but we actually played a lot better. Feels nice to not be bored by a performance! #readingfc— Alex Lane-Kieltyka (@alex_elkay21) January 22, 2022
Positives, Puscas much better, good to have Joao back, Rino a terrier and Yids also good (though looked knackered by the end). #readingfc— Richard Langley (@simply_langers) January 22, 2022
There were at least some positives today, more energy, more desire & better going forward. BUT all of that will be irrelevant if we can't sort out the defending. Also we have to stop being so open in midfield when the ball gets turned over, teams just waltz through us #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) January 22, 2022
Lot more positives to take from that today. Finally some fight. #ReadingFC— Matheus (@MaffRoyal) January 22, 2022
@willow1871 @BBCBerkshire Trying to find the positives. We’ve learned how to score again, and we also twice fought back from being a goal down. Now need to tighten up our play & hope Southwood cuts out the errors we’ve seen from him recently. #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) January 22, 2022
Unlike Luton on Weds, at least Huddersfield had to break sweat for the first hour, last 30 we looked knackered and their lead never looked threatened. Yes, we were better going forward but defensively all over the show again!! #ReadingFC— Paul Hunsdon (@Hunsy1969) January 22, 2022
So we’ve talked about the impressive Joao and Puscas, and the need to take some positives from the game, now we have to talk about yet more shambolic defending and another loss.
We’ve said this time and time and time and time again this season, but if you score three goals at home, there is no way you should be losing that football match. If you concede four goals at home, you deserve to lose the game - it’s as simple as that for me.
If we continue to be this open and make it this easy to score goals against us, there is only one way we’re heading and that’s down. It needs to be sorted and we need to start picking up wins, and the fans agree with me on that one...
Reading’s attack today is like a hot knife through butter— Dave (@shakefon) January 22, 2022
Sadly Reading’s defence today is like butter with a hot knife through it #readingfc
Can’t concede four goals at home and expect to get anything from the game! Strong side out so no injury excuses, poor defending cost us again! What do we do all week in training! Clueless! #readingfc @ReadingFC— James (@B3rt1e) January 22, 2022
The fact we scored 3 goals today.... Still lost #readingfc— Arron flesch (@Arronflesch) January 22, 2022
Looked better in a 2 but still can't defend. No organisation or tactical knowledge. Drinkwater v poor. 2nd half is extremely poor didn't really have a go. Cant keep losing games. Swifts lost interest. Another week towards league 1 im afraid. #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) January 22, 2022
Yep it was a bit better but it’s a game of numbers not pictures and we lost again. That’s all that really matters. Change needed. #readingfc— Jordan Norris (@Jordo_Grittt) January 22, 2022
Acknowledging improvements and still being frustrated at another defeat are not mutually exclusive, you can do both.
There were improvements, of course there were, everyone should be able to see that and the players need every positive they can get at the moment. We just need something to be able to build on.
However, it was the same old at the back. And you’re never going to win football matches defending the way we did on Saturday, it was awful, particularly in the first half. It doesn’t matter how good you are going forward if you’re that open at the back.