"If the confidence is low, the players are not doing things that they normally would do when they're feeling good and when results are working for you," Royals boss Jaap Stam said after tonight's defeat to Birmingham City.
"I've been in these situations as well, at some of the biggest teams in Europe. And even the best players if they're not high on confidence, they make different decisions or they don't see that ball to play at the right moment.
"Conceding a goal from a set piece...again. It's something we've spoken about, but it is becoming the routine.
"And if you concede a goal like that, you know it's going to be difficult. We had opportunities ourselves to score, we don't pull the trigger or we don't beat the keeper and it becomes more difficult.
"And if you concede that first goal, you see those players get a bit more insecure or disappointed in the way it is going, which you don't need to do. You need to go forward and take the initiative and instead they opt for the safe ball and play it back maybe."
"In the second half, it became the same game as a lot of times this season. We had possession, tried to go forward, the opposuition waited for the moemnt to come out on the break, it happened - we lost that ball, they came out, and they killed us off. 2-0.
"We had possession, created opportunities. But we need to score ourselves and stop giving goals away from set pieces, corner kicks, crosses. It happened at Barnsley in extra time, in this game as well - we needed to be aware of their thtreat from set pieces with the height and physique of their players.
"You need to defend better in those situations, because we know a lot of teams are targeting that aginst us. You talk about it, you can train on it, but it's still a problem that is coming back. We need to do a lot better."
The Royals travel to Stevenage on Saturday with the welcome distraction of a Third Round FA Cup clash against League Two opposition filling the fixture schedule. And Stam is set to make some changes.
"Some players are tired, you can see that in the game today. Some players need to have a rest. And when it's not going how you want it to go and you're not getting results, everything becomes a bit heavier if you're playing a lot of games.
"Players are feeling certain niggles, but if you're winning it's easier to play a lot of games in short period. That isn't the case for us at the moment. So we need to rest some players on Saturday, but we still want to win that game of course."