Reading manager Paul Ince is hoping the 3-0 Championship defeat against Sunderland will provide a humbling moment for his players.
Patrick Roberts gave Sunderland a 2-0 half-time lead when he struck twice in as many minutes shortly before the interval, with Jack Clarke adding a third in the second period.
It was the first time Reading had dropped points in five home league games this season but Ince hopes the setback could provide a valuable lesson.
“Maybe, in a perverse sort of way, it’s a good result for us,” Ince said. “Because it gets everyone back on the ground. It gets everyone grounded.
“People were getting carried away after just eight games. You could sense that, I could sense that.
“Our target is to stay in this league but, such was our good start, people started talking about the play-offs and stuff like that. But that’s rubbish.
“Our performance looked a tired one and a nervous one. It’s just disappointing, though these things do happen.
“I said to the lads a couple of days ago that ‘we need to be on it’. We’re not good enough not to be on it.
“But from the first minute, we were nervous. We defended too deep, we didn’t win the second balls, we weren’t competitive or aggressive enough.
“All the things that have got us where we are now were not there tonight. That’s so disappointing.”
Ince confirmed Andy Carroll is again training with the club and he hopes to re-sign the former England striker.
The 33-year-old free agent scored two goals in eight league games for Reading last season before moving on to West Brom.
“We’re looking to try to do something this week,” Ince said.
Sunderland’s new head coach Tony Mowbray was celebrating his second win in three matches since his appointment late last month.
“I think that we controlled the game tonight with the ball rather than with physicality,” he said.
“The team played well and I spoke this week that people had to step up and we had to score goals from different places.
“Patrick grabbed that nettle and did just that for us. And Jack Clarke as well.
“It was a good display. Despite their unblemished home record this season, we looked at them and believed that, if everyone did the basics well, we could win tonight.
“It’s good to score three goals in front of all our (travelling) supporters. It’s amazing to see how many people had come down from Sunderland on a Wednesday night.
“But that doesn’t really surprise me about this club. It’s a massive beast, really, and we just need to keep trying to feed it.”
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