Ahead of tomorrow's Carling Cup tie, Benitez said: "Reading will give us a hard game, I am sure of that.
"But I have been surprised that Reading have not started the season as well as they played last season.
"I do not understand why. Last season they were really good, they knew what to do and with the same manager for some time, it clearly worked for them.
"It is strange that after one season the team are not playing as well and getting results, it is strange.
"I do not believe in what is called a second season problem after promotion. It depends on the players you have, nothing more. And they did a very good job last season."