The Royals got their revenge on Coventry City after the Sky Blues’ win earlier on in the season with a 3-0 victory at the Madejski Stadium.
Reading started slowly, but Lucas Joao put us ahead in the first half. Coventry were pretty poor defensively and were sloppy for our second goal which Andy Rinomhota slotted away on his 100th appearance for the Royals. Coventry went down to 10 men after Kyle McFadzean was given his marching orders. From the resulting free kick, John Swift scored a sensational goal, one that Cristiano Ronaldo would be proud of! Reading are now fourth, three points behind Swansea in second and seven points behind top side Norwich.
Paunovic on the result
“The whole team did a fantastic job The periods of high pressure and high intensity we put in paid off.
“The first goal came after we hadn’t had too good a start actually – we had conceded a few unforced errors which led to opportunities for our opponent that could have cost us a lot. We are fortunate that we had Rafael in our goal to make a couple of very good saves. And that gave us the confidence and the energy to put into the reaction we had.
“After the first goal, everything went in the right direction. We kept doing what we planned, especially applying the high pressure. We were up against a very good opponent, who prepared well and made it very hard for us. But scoring the second goal at the start of the second half was great.
“And coming from Andy Rinomhota on the night he is celebrating 100 appearances or the team, it was a very emotional moment for he team. And an exciting one too. Congratulations to Andy for that goal.
“At 2-0 up we could be a bit more conservative and wait for them to become nervous or frustrated on the ball. And that happened, we had a couple of breakaways and the two yellows came from that approach.
“The third goal – a fantastic free kick from our free kick specialist Swifty. He loves practicing those and we encourage that - it’s great to have that asset in the team.
“But I am telling him not just to wait for free kicks to shoot. He has great vision, a great shot from distance and he can affect things in the box too - so in the future we want to see him scoring more from open plays. But I’m very happy for him too after a long time out injured.”
Paunovic on the team
“I’m blessed to work with these guys. Everyone knows their role, everyone works hard and waits for their opportunity. That is the recipe.
“You cannot be ready for your opportunity if you are not putting in the work every day on the training pitch, if you do not have total commitment to the team, if you do not have a great attitude and a positive mood in every session you play.
“So I am very grateful for the family we have here.”
Paunovic on getting payback
“We spoke about this as being payback month for us and it has started well. Coventry ended our winning streak at the start of the season - they ended our honeymoon. So I am very happy but I am happy with the way we played and how we executed - it was brilliant.
“Huge credit to the team and players for all the effort they put in. It was a very good performance.
Paunovic on Olise’s injury
“It is a shoulder injury which has to be assessed by a specialist tomorrow. At first look by our medical department the assessment is he will be out for a long time but we’ll have to wait for a bigger picture of the injury.
“It doesn’t look bad but let’s wait for the next 24/48 hours and until we have an opinion from the specialist and until we have a scan done.”
Paunovic on Rinomhota making his 100th appearance
“He plays every game, he is a fundamental part of our team with his hard work, generous effort and support for everyone on the field - together with Josh. They are the two engines we have in the midfield and they are very important for our team, together with Alfa who shares the role with them.
“Together we have those three pilots in the midfield who are our pinnacles - I’m very grateful for his commitment, Andy’s genuine personality and he is definitely a team favourite.”
Paunovic on kicking on over the second half of the season
“It’s not going to be easy - we’re looking forward, not looking back. We have 22 games to play and we are only halfway down in our marathon. Well done so far, but we haven’t done anything or achieved anything yet and this is what we have to understand.
“What we’ve done so far has to be proven again. Day in, day out, preparing, recovering, training, etc, all that has to stay consistent and get better. Then we take one game at a time.”
Paunovic on transfer and contracts latest
“There have been movements and I have spoken with players and given them my input on their situation but we’re still working to put something together for the players and approached their representatives so we can start negotiations.
“But that’s an important thing for us - we are aware of the situation and we are looking for solutions. And we will find them.”
Paunovic on incomings and outgoings
“We did enquire about a couple of Premier League players who would be possible loans but we were told to wait. We will knock on the door every day though - we won’t be too aggressive but we will be consistent and persevere in asking to get the players we want.”
Paunovic on how many players he’d like
“My personal goal would be two but given what the team needs I think we need depth in the backline and a player who can affect in the final third. Given the games we have and as you can see, with Olise’s shoulder injury, we have to be ready for replacements and be ready to have competition for the team.”
Paunvic on injured players
“They are our biggest reinforcements which we will have. We will have them back sooner or later. Yiadom - he is fully recovered now, he’s in the final stages of his game fitness. We are looking to give him an U23s game so we will see how that goes. Then we’ll fully reintegrate him into the first team training.
“Meite - he’s already working on the field with our physios and fitness coaches. It looks good so he’ll be the next one back - or even the same time as Yiadom. Moore - he’ll probably be next month back training.
“Araruna - he’s already with the team but he’s had a setback. It was more because of the overload and anxiety that we all had together to get him back after being out for so long. But he should be fine by the end of the month, along with Yiadom and Meite.
“Puscas - he had surgery on a sports hernia on Friday. First couple of days is about healing the wound and scar, then he will start working with our medical team by the end of the week to get him back in shape. We’re looking at two to three weeks until he’s back with the team.”