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Veljko Paunovic Praises Game Management In Narrow Barnsley Win

The gaffer highlighted reasons to be optimistic and areas for improvement in Reading’s 1-0 victory against the Tykes.

Reading v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

The Royals continued their good form after the international break with a 1-0 victory against Barnsley at the Select Car Leasing Stadium. John Swift scored the only goal of the game late on in the second half to put us up to seventh, just one point off the play-offs.

Veljko Paunovic said it was an important win after the game; he spoke to the official club website, Reading Chronicle and Berkshire Live.

Paunovic on the victory

“It was a very important win for us. Another clean sheet. And I’m happy that we knew how to manage the game. In the first half we played very well, had some quick, creative build-up play… but we got stuck with finishing, we missed the end product in the final third.

“The goal that Tom Dele-Bashiru scored looked like it was onside and had that stood it would have changed the second half. That was the goal we were chasing in the first half, but it didn’t happen.

“We knew that Barnsley, having struggled with results recently, would have gained much more confidence from going into the break at 0-0 and we knew they would come out and make it very difficult for us in the second half.

“According to the data, Barnsley make a lot of high-intensity runs and sprints. So we knew this was going to be a tough game from the start. And in the first 15 minutes of the second half especially, we knew they were going to come at us strongly and have more courage – we spoke about that in the dressing room at half-time. Unfortunately, we didn’t match them well enough and we conceded opportunities, one of which saw them hit the post.

“But after that we regrouped and we found ways to affect them and create chances of our own. And thankfully one of them resulted in a winner – an amazing play with the pass from Dann and an excellent execution from Swifty. We had tried on set pieces, we had tried on combinations, we had tried on counter attack and finally we tried over the top and it paid off.

“Again, we put ourselves in a difficult situation again in the final five minutes by not keeping the ball and not playing the football higher up the pitch. But the defence did a very good job, another clean sheet and our confidence and our mentality is being reinforced again.

“We had to match their intensity and we did. We knew we might have to be patient and we were. And we had to be smart. Sometimes you don’t win in a nice way, but being smart pays off.

“The confidence is back. And we have to embrace that confidence. Difficulties will come throughout the season and you have to deal with those. But when the confidence is there you have to appreciate it, nourish it, enjoy it and apply it in the game.”

Paunovic on Andy Rinomhota’s injury

“He needs some time. We have to give ourselves time, we missed him for this game and the whole month of September, but we work with these guys - he is one of them - on a daily basis, he might be there and might not be there for the next game, we will see.”

Paunovic on Junior Hoilett’s injury

“Junior didn’t participate [against Barnsley] as he was one of the international absences, he is still being assessed by our doctors. At the time he returned, we couldn’t do anything, so he will have a proper assessment on Monday.

“It is a soft tissue injury, so probably is going to require a certain time away from the field, and we will see how long it will be.”

Paunovic on the week ahead

“We’re looking for another solid performance although we expect another difficult game. The difficulties will be very similar to what we saw against Barnsley but Blackpool play in a different way which we need to prepare for.”