The dictionary definition of deja vu is “a feeling of having already experienced the present situation”. In reality, you could just put a picture of Curtis Davies planting that header into the Reading net to make it 2-2 and it’d do the job.
How many times have we been here? It’s getting embarrassing now. When Davies’ header did go in, I didn’t feel an ounce of sadness or heart-break, because deep down we all knew it was going to happen. I just accepted it. One goal against us may as well be worth two.
When you’re 2-0 up at home with five minutes to play, you just have to win that game. There’s no excuse for not doing so. I said it in my report on Monday - it just sums up the problem at this club: the weak mentality.
I fear Pauno’s running out of time to fix this mentality, but it’s not just him. The players need to take a long look at themselves.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the capitulation. Spoiler alert: they weren't happy...
It’d be wrong of me to be negative for the entirety of this piece (trust me, I was very nearly tempted to). Junior Hoillett had put us in a wonderful position thanks to his two goals, one of which was particularly special.
On his first start since the win at Cardiff in October, he showed what he can offer to the team and it’s a big plus having him back in the side.
The fans were delighted with his overall performance and his first half goal in particular...
What a signing Hoilett has been. Offers natural width and pace, something we’ve lacked for a few years, since Barrow left. Not to mention his experience and goal scoring ability. Plays with head up and loves the ball at his feet. Hopefully we tie him down. #readingfc— Ed Ryding (@EdRyding) January 3, 2022
WHAT A SCREAMERRRR FROM HOILETT!!! He’s been great all game and scored a fantastic goal. Get in there ⚪️ #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) January 3, 2022
What a signing Hoilett has been. Yeah he lack fitness but he gives us a bit of a spark and an X factor when he's on the pitch. #readingfc— Nath St Paul (@NathStPaul) January 3, 2022
What is there to be said that hasn’t already been said? Not much really. The players need to find something within themselves to stop this from happening, or else we’re going to be in serious trouble come May. Serious, serious trouble.
I don’t care how much quality we’ve got, you have to back that up with mental strength - and we’re not showing much of that right now. The fans certainly weren’t a happy bunch after seeing us waste another two-goal lead...
This team just shut up when they go ahead and getting punished for it is par for the course. Dreadful. Reading have thrown this away as much as Derby have earned it. So predictable too. #readingfc— Matthew Williamson (@Photomattic) January 3, 2022
Called it at 2-0 that we wouldn't win the game, it's so predictable. We are a shambles and I don't see us getting out of this. #readingfc— Tom (@TomMoore0506) January 3, 2022
Blackpool H, QPR H, Coventry A, how many more leads are we going to bottle with negative tactics and such fragile mental strength?? #readingfc— Sean (@royal_seano96) January 3, 2022
Credit to Derby for coming back, but that negative game management was just pathetic. I really have lost my patience with this football. Players missing doesn't justify this underdog mentality we seem to have right now. #readingfc— Matthew (@cassell_matthew) January 3, 2022
Well if you were to have offered me a point before kick off id of taken it. But now.... seriously wtf! 2 poor poor goals to concede. Basics!! Who's to blame who knows anymore. And no surprise an EFL ref missing a blatant pen at the end! #readingfc— Dan Gabriel (@DanG188) January 3, 2022
Why is my clubs game management so poor. The amount of points we throw away from winning positions is a joke ♂️ #readingfc— Sam Gardner (@SamGardner04) January 3, 2022
What an absolutely awful second half performance #readingfc— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming14) January 3, 2022
I am still a supporter of Pauno. I never, ever want anyone to lose their job and get sacked, I would never call for a manager to be sacked and I’m not going to start now. But I do fear Pauno is beginning to run out of time.
Judging by the reaction on Twitter after the game, I think it’s fair to say that the fans are beginning to run out of patience, and our owners have previous with pulling the trigger and sacking managers.
I really, really want Pauno to turn things around, but performances like Monday afternoon just aren’t good enough. Here’s what the fans had to say regarding the gaffer...
Pauno has to go. I still don’t think it’s 100% his fault as some of these players are spineless. But players don’t get sacked so his time is up.— Jamie Hodder (@Jamie_Hodder21) January 3, 2022
I don’t know who else we get in. But there has to be someone who can get these players playing.
I’m absolutely gutted. #ReadingFC
Pauno out for me. Don’t get me wrong he’s been dealt a bad hand but he should be getting more out of this bunch. #readingfc— Tommo (@Rfctomo) January 3, 2022
Loved the passion from Ady Williams after the game, he’s not blinded by this and sees out how it is. Pauno speaks riddles after every game, it’s boring. His game management stinks and always has done #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) January 3, 2022
Today has tipped me into the Pauno out camp. He's had a seriously rough ride with financial issues at the club & awful luck with injuries. But there's been far to many games like today where tactics/game management when ahead is clueless, along with post match excuses #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) January 3, 2022
30% possession at home!? We’ve obviously forgot how to play football as well as lacking that match fitness, Pauno? ♂️ This isn’t the first time this season, if we kept some possession/played football we wouldn’t be inviting the pressure! New year, same Reading #readingfc— Steve Emerson (@Emerson1988) January 3, 2022
Just unacceptable. And the problem runs deeper than just the second-half performance on Monday afternoon. It’s a mentality that's been ingrained into the club over so many years and it needs to change.
I don’t know how it changes or who changes it, but all I know is it needs to change. Otherwise it’s going to be a torturous next five months.
Next up, a trip to minnows Kidderminster Harriers in the cup. Surely that can’t go Pete Tong, can it? *gulps*