Every game The Reading Chronicle puts out player ratings, giving quick-hitting analysis on each Royals' performance. Justifiably those ratings have been quite low for some time now and Tuesday night’s embarrassing 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Fulham won’t see those numbers rise.

The players were bad. Well, bad probably doesn’t cover it. Awful, atrocious, catastrophic. Pick any word, we’re all in agreement. But truly, it isn’t fair to only rate the players. So here is another rating we’ve been lacking on: the manager.

Veljko Paunovic: 2

Alright alright I know many of you are going to look at this and say ‘hey, how’s this not a 0 after that shambolic performance from his side?’ It’s a fair point. That was Reading’s record home league defeat so on the basis of that, a 0 for the manager is probably fair.

But let’s give him some credit. Paunovic did show up - that’s one point in his corner. And he did have some tough conditions to deal with as Scott Dann went off injured and Reading had a weakened and inexperienced defence. It’s not quite a pity point, let’s call it a 'understanding' point.

Now for the negatives that cost Paunovic his eight points. The team selection was fine enough and the horrific start in which Josh Laurent gifted Harry Wilson Fulham’s opener is hard to fully blame on the manager. Same goes for the second goal in which Tom Holmes desperately lunged in, getting no ball, and committing the foul to concede the penalty that Aleksandar Mitrovic slotted in to make it 2-0.

Paunovic’s rating largely comes from the horrific performance his team put up in the second half. Who knows what was said at half-time but heads looked to have dropped immediately as Fulham cut Reading to ribbons, seemingly able to score whenever they wanted.

“I’m going to give you a heads up: January is going to be very difficult, very challenging for everyone,” Paunovic said after Saturday’s disastrous FA Cup defeat to Kidderminster Harriers.

Surely not even Paunovic could have foreseen a night like this but a comment such as that allows tonight’s result to happen. Excuses were already prepared pre-match so when Reading went down 2-0 there was a meek acceptance of their place, a meek acceptance that they were never supposed to win this game. Because…well, it’s January and January was always going to be “very difficult.”

The surrender against Fulham didn’t have the look of a side that wants to fight their way out of the relegation battle. It looked like a team of individuals who would rather focus on their next move and their next club.

But it’s Paunovic’s job, even amidst all the challenges, to find motivation from somewhere. If he can’t, and tonight’s performance was rather damning, then he has to go. Otherwise, Reading will end their 150th-anniversary campaign in League One.