Derby County manager Gary Rowett says ‘he thought it was Hallowe’en’ after his side’s woeful performance in a 4-2 defeat to Reading at Pride Park.
The nightmare day started as it meant to go on, with captain Richard Keogh forced off through injury within the first few minutes.
Almost immediately afterwards Reading opened the scoring through captain Liam Moore from a free-kick that hadn’t been dealt with by the Derby defence.
Sone Aluko added a second inside the 20-minute mark after more poor defending from the Rams.
Roy Beerens (54 minutes) and Modou Barrow (75 minutes) piled on the misery before the home side gained some respectability through Johnny Russell and Chris Martin.
Rowett said: “After 10 minutes I was looking to see where the pumpkins were because I thought I had missed something and that it was Hallowe’en this evening!
“Richard Keogh came off with a quad strain, I don’t know how bad it is but at that point a little bit of you wonders whether it is going to be one of those afternoons.
“We just didn’t get close enough all over the pitch. It almost took us to go 2-0 down to start to run around and close people down. It was too easy to create opportunities against us.
“We huffed and puffed but didn’t show enough quality and didn’t show enough composure. Some of our play was a little bit forced and certainly not good enough.
The result was even more surprising given that Derby were on the back of four consecutive victories, with an unbeaten run reaching seven matches in total.
Reading began the day in 20th position, having only won two of their last nine fixtures.
Rowett added: “Whether you can look at the likes of Joe Ledley not playing or the likes of Keogh coming off but ultimately we didn’t show enough spark.
“Whether that’s because we got caught up in the fact people have been saying nice things about us or that we’re in the play off places I don’t know, it is just one of those things.
“The Championship is a brutal league and if you don’t do the right things every week any team can beat you.
“That is why you can’t get too down about it, I’m not going to start berating the players saying that they didn’t try or that there was no effort.
“Just as I will try and stay level-headed after a seven-game unbeaten run I will stay level-headed about a poor performance.”
The Rams will try to put that performance behind them after the international break, with their next fixture coming against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Tuesday, November 18th.