On a day when the Royals fans took to the streets to protest against the ownership, league leaders Portsmouth were the visitors at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, which ended in an all too familiar fashion.
It was a promising start with Reading 2-0 up inside 30 minutes thanks to goals from Lewis Wing and Charlie Savage, but Portsmouth took it to the break level. Pompey then secured the win in the second half. Amadou Mbengue was sent off after the final whistle was blown.
Reading now sit in 24th place in League One, eight points off safety. Here is what manager Ruben Selles had to say; he spoke to the official club website and Reading Chronicle.
Selles on the defeat
“It’s a feeling we have had a lot of times in the last period unfortunately. We were 2-0 up, we should keep the advantage, we should have been 3-1 up. We missed chances to equalise at the end. But we have lost 3-2 and we leave with the feeling that we should have got more from the game.
“We knew they were a really aggressive team in terms of long ball, second actions and set plays – so we moved Tyler inside so we would be more robust in the air.
“We saw that teams were playing over our pressure on the ball, so we decided to go with three midfielders – one 6 and two 8s – to close the space in the centre and have the pressure line a little bit lower.
“We got it right in the first part of the game, our two 8s scored the two goals – Charlie and Lewis. But then instead of reading the situations, we started to follow the full-backs and open up the centre - and that led to us defending too low.
“We corrected it in the second half, made a bit more of a change by moving Lewis Wing a little bit higher; we needed to be in possession a bit more and we were in the last part of the game.
“In the big picture, we can see that we are competitive against any team. But in the micro situations, we can see that the small decisions are taking us away from where we want to go.
“We need to grow. Unfortunately we are growing in the most cruel and difficult way – by making mistakes. It’s about making sure we don’t give them an opportunity to score with the last kick of the first half, it’s about making sure we put the ball in the back of the net when we get a clear opportunity, it’s about taking our chances when we were 3-2 down and could have equalised.
“We are better than the results we have been getting. We have been competitive again, but we are not closing out the games, we are not doing the things we need to do as a growing team. And that is what is denying us the victories – and that is what we need to start doing, winning games of football right now!
“We need to grow, we need to do it as a team and we need to do it now!”
Selles on the formation change
“We had seen that Portsmouth are quite direct in their processes and today we expected that. They had more possession when we were 2-0 but we needed one more man in the middle of the pitch to make our defenders more comfortable and get the second chances.”
Selles on improvements
“It’s in both ends really. We need to defend better the crosses that cost us the goals, but I think we create enough situations to get us goals. Sometimes we speak about quality chances, but I think we have in the last few games, but we need to be more ruthless. Mistakes can happen but we’ve had a lot of mistakes already. We cannot keep doing it.”
Selles on conceding before half-time
“It passed the time, and we should just get a good clearance in that action and get it over, but we didn’t, and it changed the entire mode of the team.”
Selles on the formation change
“We can manage to use the 4-3-3 but also combine with other formations we have. We have players who can play both and we feel comfortable, we just need to continue developing that so we can go one way or the other.”
Selles on Mbengue red card
“I didn’t see what happened, but I took him out because he was getting a lot of people involved. I saw him in the centre, so I took him out and the referee gave him a red card. Apparently, he did something in that moment. I didn’t watch it because our tape is until the moment before it happened so I cannot judge it.
“We need to be better than that. We cannot make stupidities. It will be three games and the last thing we need is another player outside the game for three games without it being for a competitive reason.”
Selles on dropping Nelson Abbey
“We knew that they would come quite direct, especially finding their striker against our left centre-back. That is why I put Tyler Bindon there, to deal with him. Tyler is keeping the line in a different way so today we thought it was the way we were going to approach it. It doesn’t mean that we don’t count on Nelson or count him as an important player. He will play a lot of games for us; it is just some decisions that we make.”
Selles on tennis ball protest affecting the match
“I will not make that excuse.”
Selles on being bottom of the league
“We still have two games less than a lot of teams and we know that a lot of things happen. Our performances have not been bottom of the league, but I know we are. We perform to take more points. I think we had them but they took our points because of the financial issues. It is the mix of everything that has sent us in that situation but there is only one group of players that can reverse it. It’s on us.”