This team has showed a ‘bouncebackability’ on numerous occasions so far this season - and they’re going to need to show it more than ever on Saturday after a disastrous second half on Tuesday evening, which capped off a poor run of results and performances.
Having a knack of reacting well to losses is all well and good, until you stop having that knack. Because then it’s just bad result after bad result.
Look, I don’t think there can be too many complaints at the result of Tuesday evening - Swansea are a well coached team and keep the ball really well, and a 3-2 loss before the game would’ve been bad but not catastrophic. However, the way the loss happened is the bit that stings.
Here’s how the fans reacted to a Jekyll and Hyde performance...
I have to say I didn’t watch the first half, and judging by the majority of the fans’ reaction it wasn’t much better than the second half - which I did unfortunately witness. Regardless, we found ourselves 2-0 up with a few minutes to go until the interval, which is an unforgivable position to lose from.
For large parts of the second half we couldn't get near the ball. It was almost as if Swansea knew they were going to score two more and were just choosing when and how they were going to score them.
It looked inevitable, even at 2-1 down, that we were going to lose that game. We haven't shown a soft centre so far this season, but we did against the Swans, and the fans were fuming...
Yet another poor show. Where was the midfield tonight? Bringing off Meite was another wrong substitution. With the championship table as close as it is we could be languishing at the wrong end very soon if this form carries on #readingfc— smudger (@smujjii87) October 18, 2022
Gameplan has been awful. We won't get anything from this game. #readingfc— Ben (@BenParsons89) October 18, 2022
Poor in possession, poor at defending, poor at creating chances #readingfc— Dom (@domwindle) October 18, 2022
Absolutely garbage today. Swansea deserve the three points here, no question. Jeff Hendrick is one of the most passive footballers I’ve ever witnessed. Negative approach, negative result. Not good enough #readingfc— Harry Smith (@harrysmithEFL) October 18, 2022
I think the players who were left on the bench had a better game than those on the pitch. #readingfc were never worth a 2-0 lead with only 25% possession in 1st half. One knew they would screw up & they didn't deserve any points. Despite Ince post match comments. He is #useless.— Sir Dodger Royal (@SirDodgerRoyal) October 18, 2022
Only Hoilett came out of tonight with any credit, the rest of them all poor. 3-2 flattered us. Need centre backs fit asap and Ejaria is a joke. Big response needed on Saturday. Swansea marina was nice #readingfc— Lee Wyeth (@leewyeth) October 18, 2022
Three losses in a row
Again, if you said at the start of the season that we'll lose away to QPR and Swansea and at home to West Brom, I would’ve said “yeah, sounds about right”. But it’s the way we’ve lost them.
A last-minute penalty after a clumsy challenge, a flat performance from the first whistle and now a second-half capitulation. It’s the manner of the defeats more than anything that have been the worst bit.
The fans are not happy with the lsat few games...
Lost three on the bounce. Bristol City, Burnley, and Luton coming up who are all in good form. Can see us going to six on the bounce if im honest. I’d honestly take two points from them fixtures #readingfc— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) October 18, 2022
Well, well past this simply being a blip in form for #ReadingFC. Seriously worrying patterns emerging now, with few answers forthcoming (naive tactics, midfield/defensive options limited due to injuries, etc).— Jacob South Klein (@JacobSouthKlein) October 18, 2022
Squandered our strong start, and the fixture calendar is relentless.
But yeah, saw the last 3 games being tough from a mile away. Just the way we've handled them bar the first half at QPR has been shocking. Need Hutch back ASAP, spineless without the lad. #readingfc— Louis (@Oi_Ffreshrfc) October 18, 2022
That’s three games in a row that our entire midfield hasn’t turned up.— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) October 18, 2022
Hendrick, Loum and Fornah need a rocket, but with injuries as they are - only Ejaria can come in.
Starting to get last season vibes. Need to change, but can’t change. #readingfc
Ffs Boys how have we lost that we was 2-0 up the goal where so avoidable if we couldn’t beat West Brom we won’t be Bristol city I don’t see where another win coming from the last 3 games have been abysmal https://t.co/fCRsEHPPcA— wallsy2000 (@Wallsy1871) October 18, 2022
Last words on tonight. As fans we just want to see performances, giving their all and an identity - the result really doesn’t matter.— Pedro‼️ (@PictonPedro) October 18, 2022
The last 3 games have simply not been good enough and we have a tough 3 coming up.
You have a full senior squad now Ince. Sort it out #ReadingFC
Regardless of how good the start has been, we’ve been burnt by this fire before so it’s probably understandable that few Reading fans have been willing to properly publicly praise Ince - we just don’t want the last few seasons to repeat themselves.
It’s hard for us fans, but also tricky for Ince. He probably feels he’s not getting the credit he deserves for getting us to where we are - which is fair - but games like the last three, and Tuesday night in particular, will build pressure. Particularly the way we lost and his post-match comments.
The fans weren’t impressed with Ince’s tactics or his post-match interview...
This assessment of the performance, along with the crazy sending off and EFL quotes are worrying! Ince will say anything to protect himself and deflect attention for his poor decision making. #readingfc https://t.co/11BBi5qw87— Up The Ding (@UpTheDing1871) October 19, 2022
Tactical masterclass from Paul Ince. Sit back and invite pressure. Elite stuff #ReadingFC— Tatum (@TatumRFC) October 18, 2022
It won’t be long before fans are calling for Paul Ince out. Ince has spoken a lot about performances. As fans we can accept losing but we want performances. Tonight has been dreadful. I’m not calling for Ince out anytime soon but I want to see a massive response #readingfc— Cameron (@ronniemac93) October 18, 2022
Paul Ince has a lot to answer for. Awful tactics, sitting back and inviting pressure with a lead. Concede three unanswered and still don’t look bothered at all by any of it. #ReadingFC— Tatum (@TatumRFC) October 18, 2022
Paul Ince has to take the blame tonight, that was a performance that shouldn’t be repeated was simply embarrassing at times. #readingfc— Dan (@RoyalsDan95) October 18, 2022
If Paul Ince thought last night the players gave everything then he’s deluded. From the moment the game kicked off they showed no sign of attacking bar the 2 goals and just sat back all night. Got what we deserved in the end. Only one team tried to win that game. #readingfc https://t.co/XjTNOsbJdV— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) October 19, 2022
Another really poor night, and a performance that needs to be put right and very, very quickly. It’s difficult to look at the bigger picture after nights like this, but we are still in a good position.
The problem is the league is so tight this season, even by the Championship’s standards, that a few bad performances can send you plummeting down the table. We just need to get to 45 points as quickly as possible, and performances like Tuesday won’t help that.