JOSE Gomes accused his Reading FC players of forgetting their roles during the 2-1 defeat at Derby County.

Royals were slow out of the blocks at Pride Park and paid the price when Duane Holmes put promotion-chasing Rams in front with less than three minutes on the clock.

It could have been worse as Jack Marriott and Harry Wilson also went close in a poor opening spell from the visitors.

A deflected Harry Wilson strike five minutes before the break doubled the home side’s lead.

Substitute Sone Aluko pulled one back on 66 minutes during a much-improved second half from Gomes’ men.

But the Portuguese boss accepted the damage was done in the early stages.

He explained: “The big lesson is that we must play all of our games like we train, no matter the name of the opponent. It is not an option.

“If we play under our process, under our philosophy, seeing the players happy to play football and then we lose, nobody can touch my players. I am completely responsible.

“For the first 20 minutes, we played out of that process and gave advantage to Derby.

“After that time, we did play under our process, controlled the game completely and created good situations.”

He argued: “To lose is not a fair result for what my players did. But until we began playing, we gave away the advantage.

“I don’t want my team to play in a different way just because we’re playing a team in one of the top positions. If we lose, we lose, that can happen in football.

“But we must do it under our process, under our philosophy. We suffered because we didn’t start like that in the first 20 minutes.”

Reading have now lost four of their six games in all competitions under Gomes and remain 22nd in the table and two points from safety.

They are not in action this weekend but face a huge six-pointer at Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday, January 29, a fixture pushed back due to the Trotters’ FA Cup involvement.

Gomes continued: “Sometimes it looks like I trust my players more than they trust themselves, because I can feel the strength and quality they have.

“We just have to put everything together and respect our process.

“I felt that my players started the game like they were scared of their opponents. We’re near the bottom, they’re near the top.

“We need to transfer the way that we are playing into good results. Now we have 18 battles left, which is more than enough for us to achieve our target.

“But we will have no chance at all if we play for 20 minutes, 15 minutes or even one minute in the same way that we started this game.

“We cannot play with 65% possession and as many shots as Derby and say ‘we are a good team and that we have hope for the future’. No, we need to win and we need points.”