It was an incredibly disappointing afternoon that started so well, only for the Royals to collapse against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
It started perfectly with Lucas Joao scoring an early penalty to put us 1-0 up, and Sone Aluko made it two just before half time to round off the perfect first-half performance. The second half was nothing less than abysmal with Bournemouth scoring four to take the all important three points.
After an incredible start to the season, that is now our fourth defeat in a row, and after starting the day top of the Championship, we are now sixth, two points behind Norwich in first.
Paunovic on the performance
“Two very different halves. The first half was a perfect half, exactly how you have to play against this team.
“At half-time we were expecting them to come back at us and we were ready for it. But we lacked the same intensity, the focus, the urgency for the two goals they scored at the start of the second half - they were too easy, and they came too soon.
“We dropped our shields in the second half, which is unacceptable. That is something which has to be fixed immediately. We changed things on the right side and that helped. But the third goal was a fantastic strike - you have to give credit to a strike like that.
“We had two opportunities at 3-2 down and we understood that the game had changed and what we had to do. And those two opportunities were enough to flip the game. But we had to give more. We had to shoot more, finish more, score more.”
Paunovic on moving forward
“The times of Reading as a surprise are done. Now Reading has to earn the respect, self-respect and the respect from the other teams by playing like we know we can. I don’t get disappointed that easily, but I do get in the mood where I want to fight back and fix things.
“Today is a big lesson for us. We have to wake up. And we have to immediately switch our focus towards Millwall on Wednesday. This mix of feelings we have now, anger and disappointment, can be helpful if we channel it and use them to bounce back in the next game.
“Let’s get back to work and let’s fix this.”
Paunovic on the second-half collapse
“It’s a mix of feeling but most importantly I always use these moments to reflect and channel the feelings towards something positive and use it to improve for the next game.”
Paunovic on our defensive performances
“We have issues in our defensive performances. We all attack and we all defend so we have to see where the leaks or fractions in defence are coming from. And we have to fix them.”
Paunovic on having the belief to get back into the game
“At 2-2 we reacted well and adjustments from the bench also helped. We stopped the bleeding from the right side as both goals came from there. The adjustments worked well and we had a couple of opportunities to score.
“Their third goal was a fantastic goal and although we didn’t step up these are goals you only concede one in 100. So credit to them for that. At 3-2 down we were still pushing forward and improved our ball possession.
“We got a couple of opportunities but their goalkeeper made some great saves. That was the key - if we scored the third goal it would have been a different game.
“We had to push more numbers forward and the fourth goal came from an understandable mistake which happens when you’re anxious to score. But we have to learn and fix that and make sure it doesn’t happen. You always have to stay consistent and not concede.
“For us, the perfect model was the first half and the second was the complete opposite.”