Reading suffered back to back Championship hands as they were beaten 1-0 away at Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon.

Middlesbrough will have been pinching themselves when they were handed the visitor’s team sheet at the weekend. Three of Reading’s summer signings George Puscas, Lucas Joao and Pele were all on the bench, and the Reading manager Jose Gomes has given his reasoning.

Speaking to BBC Sport after the defeat, Gomes said: “Puscas, Joao and Pele didn’t start. Pele and Puscas had travelled for their national team, but that was not the only reason why they did not play.

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“The reason was that I did not like the way that they played in the last game.”

Joao and Puscas did make a contribution against Middlesbrough however, with Joao showing plenty of determination to make things tick, playing in a number 10 role behind Puscas when the pair were introduced in the second half.

Puscas missed a glorious chance towards the end of the game, volleying over from close range when it looked easier to hit the target. Joao also had a chance to level when he headed a corner towards goal, only for Boro ‘keeper Darren Randolph to make a stunning save.

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“They must give everything they have inside them, and it is my obligation as their manager to demand that. If they do not give the maximum they can, in my opinion, then we have very good quality players that can replace them and play.”

Given Puscas and Joao’s impact from the bench at Middlesbrough, they may well start Reading’s next fixture as the Royals host Blackburn Rovers at The Madejski Stadium next weekend.


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Lifelong Boro fan - from the highs of watching Juninho and the Carling Cup victory, to the lows of Gordon Strachan and Lee Dong Gook