In the opinion of Joey van den Berg and his Royals colleagues, keeping a positive frame of mind is going to be a crucial factor in turning the tables and clambering back up the league standings.
The Royals have secured some good results so far in 2017/18, but they have been tempered by some frustrating scorelines too. But the Dutch midfielder is keen that the team and everyone in the Madejski Stadium environment should keep believing that they will unlock their potential soon enough on a more regular basis.
“We can’t keep our mood down,” explained Joey. “We have to keep our heads up and keep going, because otherwise you go down into a negative environment. The only thing you can do is to be positive. That’s the main thing for us to do.
“We have to believe in ourselves and in our capability of getting good results. We know we can do it but we have to step up and make those extra steps. I’m confident, but everybody has to believe in it – and I think everybody will.
“I’m not going to lie – it is harder than last season of course, because last season we were more in winning ways. When you lose, the feeling of losing is annoying… for the rest of the week, you feel in that mood.
“Of course you can’t stay negative for the rest of the week, but it is hard sometimes! Especially when a defeat feels as bad as they have recently.”
Middlesbrough are the next test… their adjustment back to English football’s second tier has been far from smooth following their relegation last season.
The Teessiders are winless in over a month and are some way off the pace being set for the title-contenders… and while Van den Berg takes nothing for granted, he’d back the Royals to be able to give any team a good game.
“We have a chance against everybody,” he continued. We know what we can do; the only thing is, it has to come out! That has taken a bit longer than we expected. But we are confident that it’s in there and it’ll show itself eventually if we keep on doing what we do best. That’s what we need to keep our minds on.
“We all know how this league is. It’s probably the toughest league on Earth. Everyone can win and beat anybody else. It isn’t the case that you come down from the Premier League and you can easily be champion in this league – that’s never going to happen.
“It has been a bit of a struggle for Middlesbrough as well. Hopefully we can take advantage of that.”
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