Brian McDermott was left incredulous after seeing his team lose 7-5 to Arsenal in the Capital One Cup at Madejski Stadium.
The Royals were 4-0 up after 35 minutes, but a goal from Theo Walcott just before half time gave the Gunners a foothold that they carved into a 4-4 draw in normal time. There was still time for it to go to 5-5 in extra time before two late Arsenal goals, and it was a night that was simply hard to take in.
Walcott’s goal proved crucial right before half time, while Arsenal’s fourth came well beyond the minimum four minutes of added time, and the boss was left hugely disappointed come his post-match press interviews. He said, "We are all gutted, it’s a game we should have won comfortably.
"We’re 4-0 up in a game that we were dominating completely, we were playing some extraordinary football, we should be talking about us winning 5-0 or 6-0, but they scored right before half time – and that was the turning point in that game. Losing 7-5, I can't really get my head around that.
"I went in at half time really unhappy because I felt that we had given them an opportunity and that proved to be the case. We have to clear our lines and be better in that situation.
"The goal gave them a lift, we still had a penalty shout at 4-1 but if you give good players a lift they’ll take it. You saw some really good players tonight taking an opportunity they shouldn't have even had. You can't give people opportunities the way we did tonight.
"We got to 5-5 and gave the ball away, it was crazy. I had my penalty takers written down, I thought we'll take that and go from there. At that point you do what you have to do, but we haven't done that as a team this season."
On the added time he said, "If it's four minutes of added time you don’t mind another 30 seconds for the sub but not another two minutes. He’ll have his reasons, I’m sure. What can I do? We have to take it on the chin and get on with our jobs.
"When we’re 4-0 up playing as well as we did, we had some really good attacking play and could have gone in more than four up – you can’t be giving away goals at crucial times, and we need to learn very, very quickly because we’ve done it too often this season.
"It’s nothing to do with the League games, it’s just a game of football tonight, it was extraordinary. We have to dig deep now and move on.
"For me we’ll look back at that game, 4-0 up and got beat 7-5 by Arsenal – that’s not something that we want on our records, but unfortunately it’s there – so we have to kick on again now, get training, regroup and do what we have to do on Sunday.
"The focus has changed straight away, whatever has gone has gone. We can’t do anything about that situation now so we move on to QPR. It’s what football is all about, we’ve had big disappointments in our time and we’ll come back from this on Sunday. I’ll lift myself, we’ll lift each other and then be ready to play on Sunday."