Reading boss Steve Coppell described the Royals' home form as a "massive conundrum" he has to solve if they are to succeed in the play-offs.
The final-day loss to Birmingham denied them automatic promotion and means they have not won in eight at home.
Coppell told BBC Radio Berkshire: "It's bemusing for us, given the way we started the season at home.
"I have to solve it by next Tuesday [against Burnley] or we're not going to be in the play-offs for long."
Coppell added he needs to see bravery from his players in the matches against Burnley.
"We've got to have players who are comfortable in the environment and the atmosphere of a critical game," he said.
You have to go in wanting to win and wanting to be brave. And by brave I don't mean by making challenges, I mean getting hold of the ball and having the confidence to look up, pass properly and play from there
Reading boss Steve Coppell
"We can't have players who treat the ball like a hot potato and just help it on because they don't want to be making mistakes.
"Come what may next Tuesday, it'll be there for either team to win and you can't go into a game frightened of making mistakes.
"You have to go in wanting to win and wanting to be brave. And by brave I don't mean by making challenges, I mean getting hold of the ball and having the confidence to look up, pass properly and play from there."
In addition to the disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion, being in the play-offs means that Coppell misses his son's graduation in the US - a source of particular regret for the Reading manager.
"It's massively disappointing for me. My son's been away for five years and I would have loved to have seen him graduate but now it can't be done. I'm getting a bit weepy being reminded about that," he said.
"That aspect of it is hard - more disappointing for me than for him, I'm sure he won't be too bothered. But for me it's a big blow."
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