ANSSI Jaakkola believes team spirit at Reading FC has improved since new boss Jose Gomes banned mobile phones.

Gomes has stopped players using their devices around the dinner table at their Hogwood Park training ground and on away trips.

He also wants his players to sit together and talk when enjoying a meal, rather than stare at their phones.

And goalkeeper Jaakkola says these small but important tweaks have resulted in a closer bond between squad members.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with Nottingham Forest (3pm ko), he said: “Things always change when a new manager comes in because they always bring in new ideas and the way he wants to work.

“There are a lot of small things that have changed.

“When the players have a meal together he wants us all to sit at the one table and there are no mobile phones.

“It sounds funny, but that’s how it should be. I would like to see the same rule brought into the changing room.

“It’s good, he is really trying to correct the little things, not just what happens on the football pitch. They all contribute towards the bigger goal.”

Jaakkola, 31, also revealed interaction between players has further improved since card schools were introduced on the team bus during long journeys.

“Cards were never been played on the bus before in the time that I’ve been at the club, but now John O’Shea, Sam Walker and Sam Baldock have started to bring games back in,” revealed the Finland international.

“It’s a bit of fun and now we talk to each other more instead of stare at our iPads or phones.

“We play Werewolf, Uno and another game I am not familiar with. Wolf is really good.”

Jaakkola has had to remain patient to become Reading’s first-choice keeper since joining from Ajax Cape Town in July 2016 when Jaap Stam was in charge.

He is now working closely with new goalkeeper coach Jorge Baptista who replaced Dave Beasant when Gomes brought in his own backroom staff after Paul Clement was sacked.

“It’s been good,” declared Jaakkola. “We have worked hard fitness-wise. All the keepers feel it at the moment, our legs feel tired. It’s been quite a big change.

“From the technical aspect he has brought in his own ideas based on how the manager wants us to play, so we’ve been working on that.”

“I am number one now but I have been number two or three in the past, it’s part of football.

“You always need to believe in yourself, keep working hard and never give up. You have to wait for the right moment and take your chance when it comes.”

Jaakkola is now ahead of Sam Walker in the goalkeeping ranks, with Vito Mannone one of several players placed on the transfer list ahead of a likely move back to Italy.

However, Reading are being heavily linked with Manchester United stopper Joel Pereira which could put Jaakkola’s position under threat.

He admitted: “Everyone knew we needed new players in January and, of course, the new manager wants to bring in players that he likes, it’s part of the business.

“The goalkeepers’ union is something we take seriously. We compete with each other but in good spirit. They are all good lads and we get along great. We have fun when we’re training and we spend time together away from the club. We are all good friends.”

Jaakkola has made only 28 league and cup appearances in a Reading shirt and is now working under his third manager after Paul Clement and Stam.

“It’s never nice to see a manager leave,” he added. “As a player you feel responsible so it’s never nice to say goodbye to someone who is losing their job because we haven’t been getting the results.”

Reading have not won in 10 Championship games going into tomorrow’s clash with Nottingham Forest who this morning confirmed first-team coach Simon Ireland will be in charge following Aitor Karanca’s shock departure.

But Jaakkola is confident better times lie ahead for relegation-threatened Royals.

“Everyone believes we can do this,” he declared. “We just need that one result to turn things around.

“We played well against QPR and with 10 men against Millwall. It’s the small things we need to correct. Also, when we start scoring goals things will turn.

“We played very well against Manchester United in the style the manager wants. If we can do that at Old Trafford I’m sure we can do it at home on Saturday.

“We were more relaxed on the ball against Manchester United and free to play.

“It’s a different ball game when you are playing for three points and when you are near the bottom of the table like us, the pressure is very different.

“We have been focusing on the little things this week and we are pretty confident we can turn things around and get the win on Saturday.

“Team spirit has never been an issue. We have a good group of guys and we all get on well.

“Everyone is focussed and determined to turn this around. We know we have the quality in the team to get results and be much higher up the table.

“We just need to be more consistent and perform for 90 minutes.”