Veljko Paunovic described our 1-1 draw against Sheffield Wednesday as a game we could, should and would have won on another night in a frustrating evening at Hillsborough.
The home side took the lead in the 12th minute through Callum Patterson but they went down to 10 men after Liam Shaw saw red after a tackle on Omar Richards. Lucas Joao scored against his old side to secure a point, but it should have been much, much more.
The Royals arguably could have had four penalties in the second half, but each one was waved away by referee Oliver Langford. Either way, the Royals had other chances that they should have put away to secure three points that could have taken us back to the top of the Championship. Instead, we sit fourth, just one points behind Norwich.
Paunovic on the performance
“This was a game we could, should and would on another night have won. We’re disappointed and frustrated. As this was a good opportunity for us to get all three points.
“But the team played until the end, tried very, very hard, we were smart with the ball, we defended well.
“We’ve got to learn from this. We are never going to complain about penalty appeals or officiating - we’re going to look at what we control and what we can improve on.
“We had some very good spells, good combinations in the second half. We created opportunities and there were at least two or three big chances. I wish we had created a few more, especially when we started to make changes, we didn’t have the same clarity on how to get into the final third and how to finish.
“But I am proud of our team and their winning spirit. Tonight, I think we took good care of the ball, had good possession and created good opportunities. But we are disappointed because we wanted to get the three points out of the game.”
Paunovic on the penalty decisions
“To be honest I didn’t want to look back at the penalty decisions. I didn’t want them to affect my opinions on the game right now speaking to the media.
“We can not hold any negativity. Instead we have to embrace the new momentum we are creating with the team. A win today would have helped volumes, but instead it is a small point and a step towards where we want to go.
“We will use the anger and disappointment to bounce back and channel it into much-needed energy for when we play next in front of our fans... finally. And we want to be in the best possible shape for our fans on Saturday.
“We are building a strong identity and a winning mentality - something we need to have throughout the whole season. We are brave, we are courageous and we’re going to get ready for Saturday.”
Paunovic on playing against 10 men for so long
“We had momentum so had opportunities but we weren’t rewarded for our hard work and the game plan we had. We were very close and on the verge of scoring a goal which would have opened them up and break them down.
“We’re still learning and growing as a team and this is a big learning moment for us. We had patience and did what we wanted to do. But we had to be more calm in the goalscoring moments and be more clinical.”
Paunovic on the handball penalty shout
“You cannot help the reaction of the players. You cannot stop them going towards the referee and I wish we didn’t have to lose the focus of what we were doing. You don’t know what has to happen to get the call.”
Paunovic on Lucas Joao’s goalscoring
“Don’t stop him now. He has to keep it up. It’s a good achievement for him, but most importantly it’s for the team. His goals count as points and as a progress of our team. Every goal we score is teamwork and it’s a combination of huge effort from everyone.”