Rarely can a player have put in such a complete man-of-the-match performance and yet ended on the losing side as Romelu Lukaku did here. And even more rarely can that player have delivered such a coruscating verdict on his own performance.
The West Bromwich Albion striker, on loan from Chelsea, might have left the Madejski Stadium with three goals and three points, only for an extraordinary turn of events to condemn his team to a defeat that appeared unthinkable with eight minutes remaining.
Lukaku had played his part to the full, scoring two goals, having another disallowed and hitting the woodwork twice in a superb display, but three goals in seven minutes undid all their good work.
Lukaku admitted it was "really painful" and refused to accept plaudits for his display. "It means I didn't work hard enough, I didn't score the other opportunities that I had. I'm scoring a few more goals but we're not winning. You play football to win, and if we don't win but I score it doesn't matter to me. I want to score goals that win us games. Next game I have to work harder and hopefully do better for the team. I'm devastated and disappointed."
If that did not smack of a man in temporary employment, Lukaku then underlined how attached he is to Albion by calling for his move from Chelsea - who declined the option to recall him last week, having signed Demba Ba - to be extended.
"I don't really care about what Chelsea are doing at the moment," he said. "The next two years will be very important and good for me at West Brom. They will help me build up for a great career - that is for sure. We have a good squad, a manager who is very good and, hopefully, if I continue like this I will get more regular football."
There have been no discussions so far but he said: "Hopefully after the January window we will be able to start talking about that. You have to be somewhere where you are connected with the people, in a good environment. Where I am now is similar to when I was in Anderlecht - nice people, who want you to improve. Everyone is open to you. That's why I have settled very well here.
"I went from two years playing regular football in Europa League and the Champions League, then for one year I didn't play. So I know football can change very quickly."
It may explain why Lukaku is so self-critical. "I study my game every Saturday night and think what I could do better - maybe I should have scored four goals!" he laughed. "It doesn't matter if I am 19 or 30, I want to get the best out of my career right now.
"This is one of my main qualities. I am mentally strong. I know what I want. I am always focused on my game and for the team. Today wasn't enough for the team."
West Brom face an FA Cup replay with QPR tomorrow, a chance to get back to winning ways after only two victories in their past 10 games.
Reading, on the other hand, have now won three of their past four games, though they left it awfully late on Saturday. Jimmy Kebe sparked the revival with a diving header in the 83rd minute, and Jonas Olsson's foul on the same player allowed substitute Adam Le Fondre to score from the penalty spot before Pavel Pogrebnyak wrapped up an amazing comeback with the winning goal in the final minute.
As Le Fondre said of those final minutes: "That was when the proper Reading turned up. That's how we can play and we showed our quality with the chances we created."
Le Fondre has been relegated to a substitute's role with Pogrebnyak preferred as a lone striker, and the change of formation has helped improve results for a side now just three points behind Wigan and Aston Villa.
"I'm not too fond about coming off the bench - I would prefer to start. The gaffer knows my situation but we are playing 4-5-1 most of the time and it's working for us because we have been a lot more solid and given fewer chances away.
"I'm just going to have to bide my time and wait for my chance to get back in the team."