Match ends, Sheffield Wednesday 0, Reading 3.
Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk says there is a "fragility" about his team after they fell to a heavy home defeat by Reading.
The Owls have now gone six league matches without a win and, having been third on Christmas Day, are nine points off the play-off places.
Ovie Ejaria teed up Yakou Meite to open the scoring for the visitors in the first half before Wednesday's teenage defender Osaze Urhoghide was sent off shortly after the break for a second bookable offence.
George Puscas tapped in from an Andy Yiadom cross-shot and Sam Baldock wrapped up the win with a penalty in the last minute as Reading registered a first league victory since New Year's Day to move up to 15th in the Championship table.
"There is a lack of confidence and a fragility about the players. They need to stick together and they are the only ones who can get themselves out of this," Monk told BBC Radio Sheffield.
"I understand that the results are not good enough and something needs to change. We need to get out of this cycle.
"I said from the start that this is a very big job and I've talked about change a lot. My aim is to get to the point where I can get to the point where I can physically make those changes but I understand in the meantime I need to get results."
'I'm always honest'
After the Owls slipped to a 2-1 away defeat at Wigan last month Monk said the team were an "embarrassment" and said that they needed "massive changes".
When asked if that may have dented the players' confidence he said "the players and fans deserve honesty".
"I live in a world where the truth is what matters and if you can't handle that and do something about it then you shouldn't be in this game," the 40-year-old added.
"You look for people to show their strength of character in those moments to prove everyone wrong. I'm always going to be honest, I can't be someone I'm not."
Monk confirmed that experienced goalkeeper Keiren Westwood and midfielder Sam Hutchinson were not involved in the first-team because he "knows what makes a successful dressing room".
Westwood has not featured since November while Hutchinson's last game came in the 2-1 win over QPR in the FA Cup in January.
Monk took over at Hillsborough in September and vowed to "keep fighting" after their midweek defeat at Luton Town.
He made four changes from the team that started that game in a bid to turn around his side's fortunes, including dropping January signings Josh Windass and Connor Wickham.
However, they fell behind after 21 minutes when Ejaria's ball into the box was dummied by Puscas and Meite scored his 10th of the season.
The Royals had been in danger of falling back into the battle at the bottom of the table after a run of seven league games without a win but victory never looked in doubt after the home side were reduced to 10 men when Urhoghide was sent off three minutes into the second half.
'We are a match for anyone'
Reading are now 11 points from the play-offs and the same number of points clear of relegation meaning a mid-table finish is likely.
"I was delighted with the performance and the result," said Reading manager Mark Bowen.
"The conditions were awful, but I asked the players to show football intelligence and I thought we did that in the first half. When we get things right, we are a match for any team in this league.
"It was important that after getting our noses in front that we built on that."
Reading visit second-placed Leeds next Saturday, while the Owls travel to Birmingham, who sacked Monk as their manager last summer.
- 44UrhoghideBooked at 49mins
- 8PelupessySubstituted forBannanat 45'minutes
- 38Da CruzSubstituted forMurphyat 56'minutes
- 7K Harris
- 17NuhiuSubstituted forWickhamat 68'minutes
- 33Cabral Barbosa
- 17YiadomBooked at 81mins
- 21OliseSubstituted forAdamat 68'minutes
- 14EjariaBooked at 67minsSubstituted forMasikaat 86'minutes
- 47PuscasSubstituted forBaldockat 83'minutes
- 20Araruna Hoffmann
- Andy Woolmer
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Sheffield Wednesday 0, Reading 3.
Attempt missed. Jacob Murphy (Sheffield Wednesday) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.
Attempt blocked. Connor Wickham (Sheffield Wednesday) header from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Fernando Forestieri with a cross.
Corner, Sheffield Wednesday. Conceded by Michael Morrison.
Goal! Sheffield Wednesday 0, Reading 3. Sam Baldock (Reading) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Penalty Reading. Andy Rinomhota draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Dominic Iorfa (Sheffield Wednesday) after a foul in the penalty area.
Ayub Timbe Masika (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kieran Lee (Sheffield Wednesday).
Attempt saved. Jacob Murphy (Sheffield Wednesday) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Dominic Iorfa.
Foul by John Swift (Reading).
Kadeem Harris (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Reading. Ayub Timbe Masika replaces Ovie Ejaria.
Corner, Sheffield Wednesday. Conceded by Omar Richards.
Attempt blocked. Connor Wickham (Sheffield Wednesday) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jacob Murphy with a cross.
John Swift (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Fernando Forestieri (Sheffield Wednesday).
Substitution, Reading. Sam Baldock replaces George Puscas.
Attempt missed. Julian Börner (Sheffield Wednesday) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Barry Bannan following a set piece situation.