“The big lesson from this game is that we must – it is not an option – we must play all of our games like we train, no matter the name of the opponent,” said José Gomes as he reflected on defeat to Derby County.
From the 20-minute mark onwards, Reading began to play their own game and created threats that way: controlling the ball and carving out opportunities. But the team paid the price for a lack of synergy in the opening exchanges against a high-flying Rams side.
“If we play like under our process, under our philosophy, seeing the players happy to play football and then we lose, nobody can touch my players. I am completely responsible.
“For the first 20 minutes, we played out of our process. And so we gave the advantage to Derby. After that time, we played under our process and we controlled the game completely and created good situations. So to lose the game is not a fair result for what my players did.
“But until we began playing in the way that we should, we gave away the advantage. I don’t want my team to play in a different way just because we’re playing a team in one of the top positions. If we lose, we lose. That can happen in football. But we must do it under our process, under our philosophy. We suffered today because we didn’t start like that in the first 20 minutes.
“Sometimes it looks like I trust my players more than they trust themselves, because I can feel the strength that they have and the energy and quality that they have. We just have to put everything together and respect our process.
“I felt that my players started the game like they were scared of their opponents. We’re near the bottom, they’re near the top. But when we played under our process, we controlled the game. They started getting more confidence, they believed it was possible to get a different result.
“We need to transfer the way that we are playing into good results. Now we have 18 battles left, which is more than enough for us to achieve our target. But we will have no chance at all if we play for 20 minutes, 15 minutes or even one minute in the same way that we started this game today.
“Today, we didn’t lose any confidence in the things we are doing. But we cannot play very well like we did – with 65% possession and as many shots as Derby – and say at the end ‘we are a good team and that we have hope for the future’. No. We need to win, and we need points.”