For the third game on the spin, Rafael has had no cause to visit his net to pick the ball out – thanks to some spectacular saves and some hearty defending.
The Brazilian stopper kept Stoke and Derby at bay, and then produced some stunning stops to keep out Queens Park Rangers – including one absolutely incredible save from Jordan Hugill on the cusp of the 90-minute mark.
“It was a really important three points,” said Rafael. “And for me, just as important is that we played well.
“We played well, we played football, we enjoyed the game. This is vital. Of course the points are important, but when you play well, it’s even better.
“Alone, my job is impossible. My defenders, my midfielders, everybody is playing very well. I am very happy because this is my job, to keep goals out. But we are all happy because we controlled this game and got three points against a difficult team.
“You just need to react, take a position – and I had some luck too with that chance, because I saved it with my head!”
The game was won for the Royals by John Swift – a brilliant strike early in the second half was enough to earn the points.
“It was spectacular,” continued Rafael. “I was right behind it and I saw the ball perfectly.
“He is a very good player, and we are happy that he is back playing.”