“In football, we must give everything that we have inside us, from the referee’s first whistle,” said José Gomes after seeing his side slip to a 2-1 defeat to Hull City. Goals by Jarrod Bowen and Jackson Irvine did the damage before the break; Lucas João’s maiden goal was ultimately just a consolation.
The difference in the Royals’ performance either side of the break was notable; more of what we saw in the second period and results will come quick.
“Today we can talk about two completely different games: the first half and the second half.
“The big difference was the spirit. In the second half we fought our individual challenges, won second-balls… this makes the difference. We must fight.
“I’m not tired of saying it, I’ll repeat and repeat – we can play, but first we must fight. Otherwise it is impossible to win.
“I did not like the first half at all. In the second half we could have even won the game because we created a lot of chances and played better. We won most of the second balls and the team was completely different – not because Hull dropped their lines, but because we behaved in a different way. We turned on the fighting spirit.
“In the Championship, if you want to achieve your target and be at the top at the end of the season, we have to switch on the fighting spirit from the beginning. Even in the warm-up we must be ready for the challenge that the Championship games always have.
“We must start our coming games in the way that we finished the second half.
“We have to give more. It’s not a question of coordination between the positions or tactical issues. I’m talking about having a fighting spirit. I’m not going to accept excuses about players just having arrived or not knowing each other yet. We have to fight from the beginning.
“So we must give everything. After that, the result we cannot control. We can only control what we do on the pitch. I am disappointed in the things that happened in the first half.
“But also I think that it should give us hope to see how we played in the second half and the goal situations we created. That gives us hope for the future.”