So then, we’re back again.
It was a hell of a pre-season, both metaphorically and literally. But, still, I woke up on Saturday morning with that feeling of hope, optimism and anticipation that only the first day of the season can bring.
Clearly it wasn’t the result we all wanted, but it wasn’t unexpected - not for me anyway. It’s going take a while for the players to adapt to ‘Selles Ball’ and we’re still at least five signings away from where we’d like to be, but there were definitely positive signs.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the big talking points from the opening day...
As I just said, there were some really positive signs on Saturday despite the loss, particularly in the opening half an hour or so.
The players looked hungry and, most importantly, like they have bought into Selles’ demands and the way he wants to play. It was intense, full-throttle pressing that on another day could’ve led to a goal or two.
Unfortunately we just couldn’t keep it going for much longer than 45 minutes. In the second half, Posh were a lot more comfortable and we didn’t have the quality or the energy to conjure up a meaningful chance.
The fans certainly spotted glimmers of hope and reasons to be optimistic...
Lots of positives to take away from today's match. Definitely a work in progress, but come September with another 5 signings in and we'll be a match for anyone in this division. Despite the result that's the most I've enjoyed watching us for a long time #ReadingFC— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) August 5, 2023
Our season won’t be defined with matches against Peterborough. They’re one of the best teams in this division, whilst we’re still in pre-season. Some positives there. Would like to see more of Vickers and think Jahmari Clarke should be involved instead of Kelvin. #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) August 5, 2023
Lots of positives amongst the negatives today. A defined style, youngsters look promising, some actual desire to go and win the ball back. Players are gonna need our support more than ever this season! Let’s not get on the players backs early doors! #Readingfc— UTFD! (@UTD1871) August 5, 2023
1st half theres some positives to take from but that 2nd half was like so many ive seen from a reading side with a lack of quality i like what the manager is trying to do but it'll take some time to gel the team and get more of the players that Ruben wants #Readingfc— Dan (@DanTheMan__98) August 5, 2023
Some signs of recovery and a bit of spark in this squad. Annoying result but that’s going to happen when you’re out of a winning habit. Onward we go #readingfc— Wimby (@Wimby) August 5, 2023
I think we’ll have a rough start and it’ll be easy to get down on Selles and the team…— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) August 6, 2023
…but there were real positives yesterday.
If that’s what they can do with their hands tied behind back, there’s every chance our second half could click.#readingfc
A lot of encouraging signs in that first half, very undeservedly behind and certainly against the run of play. Good energy and a clear shape visible as well. It's already clear Knibbs and Savage will be huge assets for us this season, Carroll causing them problems to #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) August 5, 2023
It is very, very early days, but my god is it good to have a manager who has some sort of tactical nous and identity.
Under Paul Ince we were starved of any of that. We were a team who just hoped to have a couple of chances and hoped to keep the ball out of our net without having a set idea of how to actually do those things.
Already you can see that has changed under Selles and that's rather exciting. The fans liked what they saw from the manager on Saturday - including the fact he made a sub before the 85th minute!
Oh and Paul Ince will never be half the man Selles is. Selles is so much more in the game, tactically aware, but also made 5 subs before 79 mins. The. Triple subs on 60 mins helped us defensively against P’boro too. So tactically he’s so much better #ReadingFC— Max (@MaxAshley106) August 5, 2023
Genuinely excited about what Selles is trying to build here. You can see what he wants the team to do. We need a few more in, we need Wing, Smith and Harlee fit, but it already feels like an exciting team in the making. #readingfc #epr3— The Biscuit Way (@CentralJoe1) August 5, 2023
If nothing else, Selles seems to know that you're allowed to bring on substitutes before the 75th minute.— Richard (@ProbablyADick) August 5, 2023
Which makes a nice change. #ReadingFC
I like what Selles is trying to do but the squad isn't good enough yet. Hopefully we can bring in more players to play this pressing system....and quickly #ReadingFC— Scott (@American_Royals) August 5, 2023
Hard done by to be behind and obviously hope we can still salvage something from the game but regardless of the final result, it looks like Selles has a clear plan and I'm sure he'll get us competitive in the division in the long term #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) August 5, 2023
Not a bad performance today, you can see what Selles wants to do. Add a bit more depth and give them more time together and we will be alright. Thought 1871 were poor though, quiet after the first 20 #readingfc— Harry Voice (@Harryvoicey) August 5, 2023
This feels like a Reading side how it should be. High energy, high intensity, a team who doesn’t care about any stat other than our running the opposition. Sellés gets it - this is our club #readingfc— Ed Ryding (@EdRyding) August 5, 2023
One really bright spark from Saturday afternoon was the introduction of Caylan Vickers in the second half. It was a cameo that we would never have seen under Selles’ predecessor, with his ridiculously stubborn refusal to give any youngster a chance.
Vickers looked like a player who wanted to make an impression on Saturday. Again, it’s very early days, but with showings like that you imagine he can have a part to play this season.
The fans love nothing more then seeing an academy prospect get their chance in the first team, and Vickers certainly caught their eye...
Few more signings needed but it wasn’t that bad today. Thought Vickers was superb when he came on, looks technically very gifted and could be a great option for us alongside Carroll #readingfc— James Grant (@jamesgrant1992) August 5, 2023
Really like the look of Vickers, that bit of skill he did was outrageous, got balls to try that on his debut #readingfc— Lord Justice (@LordJustice7) August 5, 2023
#readingfc vickers looks positive and lively made an impact off the bench— Ryan (@Ryan_RFC_) August 5, 2023
Best player for me Vickers , exciting running with the ball and neat touches #readingfc— Ross Giacobbe (@rosariogiacobbe) August 5, 2023
(2/2) Mbengue and Rushesha added something but Vickers looked very promising considering age and first minutes in a reading shirt. #readingfc— Up the ‘Ding (@DingUpdates) August 5, 2023
It’s been a rather positive Fans Verdict considering we lost yet another game, moving our competitive games without a win streak to 14 (having also lost every single game of pre-season).
Selles was never going to shake that losing mentality which the club has overnight - particularly with the shambolic pre-season he’s had to deal with. But there were a lot of positives to take, and there were signs that we can be competitive in this division this season.