Reading was brought down to earth with a bump on Wednesday night after leaving a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to Blackpool.
First-half goals from Scott Dann and Tom Dele-Bashiru put the Royals in control at the break, but a terrible second-half performance saw the Tangerines totally dominate and claim a dignified victory.
The result and the performance give Reading boss Veljko Paunovic something to think about moving forward.
READ MORE: Veljko Paunovic on Reading FC loss to Blackpool, George Puscas failure and late penalty cry
Here are some of the big talking points to come out of the game.
Paunovic admitted after the match that his team “failed” in the second half and that he and all around him took responsibility for the outcome.
Although things looked rather rosy for the locals at half-time, the warning signs were there in the first half.
Blackpool were receiving a lot of glee on both flanks and had it not been for some bad finishes they might have leveled off at the break.
Reading steadfastly stood up for himself and had to thank Luke Southwood, Liam Moore and Ovie Ejaria for some vital contributions.
But the fact that there was no reaction from the players or the manager within 45 seconds is the most worrying aspect.
Blackpool dominated possession in a completely one-sided half and the Royals simply couldn’t keep the ball and showed no intention of attacking.
They weren’t helped by George Puscas ‘dud right after the break which may have ended the Seasiders’ comeback hopes, and the Romanian once again failed to be an effective outlet at the top.
In addition, too many attacking players have disappeared in office, not only to help the defense, but also to move the team to the fore.
Granted, the manager had few options on the bench with only Femi Azeez and Tom Holmes as senior outfielders on the bench, but a change in form or game plan was needed to counter energy and determination. from Blackpool.
And for that Paunovic has to shoulder a lot of the blame, especially since the same thing happened last month when Reading let a 3-1 lead slip away against QPR, only for the Rangers to come back strongly. at the end and draw 3-3.
Is fatigue taking its toll?
One of the other main reasons that reading performance can be attributed is fatigue.
Although there has just been an international break, the Royals still have nearly 10 senior players sidelined with injury.
It’s reasonable to suggest that if even half of those players had been available for Paunovic that night, the result could very well have been different as it would have allowed the manager to turn things around.
Cool legs in midfield would have been a real bonus, while a stronger presence at the top could have helped move the team forward instead of sinking deeper and deeper.
Reading had been on a superb run before the game and was looking for a sixth win in seven matches.
So a result and performance like this was not a huge surprise considering the majority of the players had played in the past month and made a huge change to move the team up in the division.
The challenge now is to make sure they can have as much rest and recovery time to face the next four games before the international break in November.
Lack of direction
In addition to the question marks over the manager’s tactics and game plan, the players are also to be blamed and this is far from the first time in recent years that a lack of leadership has been found to be. be the downfall of the team.
No one seemed to want to take the game by the neck and slam heads together to stop Blackpool’s assault.
Even Liam Moore and Scott Dann, the two seasoned central defense figures, failed to sort out the defense, which allowed the visitors to create luck after chance and, ultimately, have 18 shots on goal all through. 90 minutes long.
Danny Drinkwater started the game brilliantly but collapsed completely in the second half, while Josh Laurent was below the standards he had set for himself over the past year.
Ovie Ejaria had a night’s rest while John Swift and Tom Dele-Bashiru, aside from their involvement in goals, actually made very little sense that night.
None of them brought the leadership in the middle of the park that Reading desperately needed to stem the tide.
18 years old and counting for George Puscas
The stage was set for George Puscas. He was played by Drinkwater, one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and was sidelined by the last defender.
All he had to do was kick the ball to either side of the keeper and into the net which would have made it 3-0 just after half-time.
We’ll never know if that would have ended the game on the spot, but there’s a good chance it did.
Puscas simply passed the ball to Daniel Grimshaw of Blackpool and Reading was left to mourn what could have been.
The run of luck summed up the Romanian’s lack of confidence at the moment in front of goal.
He hasn’t scored in any of his last 18 games for the club, a streak dating back to early April.
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