Reading centre-half Sean Morrison has promised fans that the team will be doing their utmost to win their remaining three Premier League matches.
The Royals’ relegation was confirmed on Sunday after their 0-0 draw with also-doomed Queens Park Rangers, but Morrison maintains there are still nine points and pride to play for.
He told the official Reading website: “Obviously people are disappointed and it’s a hard one to take but, as the gaffer says, we’ve got to bottle it up.
“We’ve got three games to now – and we’re not going to lie down for anyone."
The Englishman also had little doubt that team spirit has remained strong, suggesting that it could be a key factor in helping Reading win promotion again next season.
“We’re not lacking in that at all – we’ve got an amazing team spirit here, the best I’ve ever been involved in at a club," he added.
“With that, and obviously the fans, we’ve got every chance of going straight up.
The Berkshire-based club know just want it takes to win the Championship, having done so only a year ago under the stewardship of Brian McDermott.
Current manager Nigel Adkins guided Southampton to the other automatic promotion spot last term, after getting Saints out of League One the previous year.
Morrison though, is convinced that this season’s heartbreak will act as sufficient motivation to ensure Reading are challenging at the top of England’s second tier from August onwards.
“Once you’ve had a taste of it, you don’t want to let it go,” he explained.
“It’s going to be hard going back down, but I think with coming up and playing in those games it’s going to make both me and the team hungry to push straight back up into the Premier League.”