Two years ago Reading was playing in play-offs final. They lost on penalties against Huddersfield and since then they’ve been struggling to achieve anything more than a survival in Championship. You can’t always blame the manager, but sometimes you can’t find a better reason to explain what is happening with a club. After Jaap Stam left Reading, Paul Clement was appointed as clubs new manager, at that point Reading was fighting for survival and bringing in someone like Paul Clement was the right decision as the team didn’t have to get used to the new style of football and the manager has generally been someone that can save the clubs from relegation. But did anything change since they’ve managed to stay in Championship?
Have Clement made any important signings?
Everyone is still talking about the signings that Jaap Stam made last summer and the way that they made Reading fall apart. Sone Aluko is the perfect example; he made a £7.5m move from Fulham and only managed to score two goals and get four assists for Reading. Nick Powell did more for Wigan in six games so far then Sone Aluko did for Reading in 39 matches last season. That’s not good enough as for £7.5m you can buy a player that can prove to be one of the best in Championship. Although this team is clearly not good enough, Paul Clement haven’t made a lot of signings this summer.
Most of his signings were free agents or players that came on loan from Premier League clubs. Marc McNulty, a promising striker that scored 23 goals for Coventry last season is certainly their biggest signing this summer. He started only one game in Championship so far and that one game he played as a winger, so he couldn’t show his full potential. With that being said, Paul Clement haven’t made any important signings this summer as all the players that started last seasons are starting once again this season.
Can Reading improve with what they already have?
The key to their success in Jaap Stam’s first season with Reading were for me two players. Ali Al-Habsi, the goalkeeper that kept 16 clean sheets that season and John Swift, midfielder that has certainly been their key player under Jaap Stam. They played a defensive football under Jaap Stam too, but the difference has been the fact that their defence has been much better than it is now.
They concede a lot under Paul Clement, their defence is not well organized and the fact that they rely on the weakest part of the team is telling us that Paul Clement is using the wrong tactics. Everything could’ve been better for Reading last season if John Swift haven’t been injured. Since Clement was appointed, John Swift almost never starts and to have such a creative and important player sitting on the bench is nothing more than a wrong decision made by the manager.
Does Paul Clement have any ambition with Reading?
Paul Clement hasn’t been very successful as a manager before, he never achieved anything more than avoiding relegation and his style of football is often criticized as boring and not very affective. To give him a three-year contract was for me a very bad decision made by the Reading’s board. When there is no ambition, there is lack of motivation and Reading is currently holding the last place in Championship with only two points after six games so far. If they wanted to keep Paul Clement, they needed to spend more on summer in order to improve their defence.
You can’t have a manager that plays defensive football without having a solid defence as you have to realize what your ambition is before the season starts. Reading can’t do anything more than avoiding relegation this season, but can they do that under Paul Clement? I don’t think so. They need a manager that can get a win as hoping to get a point from every game is not good enough to stay in Championship.