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Veljko Paunovic Accepts Reading ‘Crumbled’ In Blackpool Defeat

The gaffer had his say on Reading’s conflicting performances in each half, and the need to put this game behind us.

Derby County v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Reading let a two-goal lead slip after Blackpool put on a superb second-half performance to win 3-2 at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Blackpool had a good start but Reading took the lead through Scott Dann in the 11th minute. Tom Dele-Bashiru made it two just 10 minutes later to give us a comfortable lead at half-time. Blackpool came out fighting and got a goal back through Owen Dale. Jerry Yates then picked up a brace with the equaliser on the 73rd minute and a penalty in the 85th after Andy Yiadom brought down Sonny Carey in the area.

Manager Veljko Paunovic said we failed as a team in the second half. Here is what he had to say to the official club website and Berkshire Live.

Paunovic on the defeat

"Today, in the second half especially, we failed as a team. We failed in executing the game properly after a fantastic first 45 minutes, where everything went our way.

"We were ruthless, determined, very clinical. Perfectly executed. At half-time we addressed what can go wrong and how to prevent it from going wrong, but unfortunately the first goal we conceded really hit us hard and we couldn’t bounce back after that.

"We crumbled. We lost our composure. And that’s something that we as a team we have to do a much better job with – we have to control the game, especially when we have the lead like that.

"We have to be more effective and efficient with the ball, be capable of keeping our composure, and sticking to our plan. We didn’t abandon the plan, but we started to be uncomfortable with the situation and the pressure. And that is something we have to look at."

Paunovic on moving forward

"We all accept responsibility for this performance and I include myself. And we have to immediately bounce back. To have a game on Saturday is a good thing. The Championship once again tonight showed how difficult it is. Everyone can beat everyone. And that is why it is so exciting.

"We have to acknowledge that today we didn’t do a good job, but everyone who comes in tomorrow and Friday has to come back with their mind only on Blackburn and aiming to recover as soon as possible. And we have to put in a different display this Saturday.

"We don't have too much time, but we do know this team is capable. We acknowledge our big mistake today. But there is a long way go for every team this season and there are going to be disappointments.

"This is a good team. We have a good group in that dressing room. And I'm certain we'll fix it. We need to regroup and this team can do great things when we're all on the same page.

"So I’ll be encouraging everyone to be thinking in a positive way and look at the opportunity we have ahead to fix immediately what today we haven’t done well."

Paunovic on if the defeat was surprising after recent run

“I don't think about surprises as somebody who is involved in football and knows how things work. Everyone can beat you and come back, if you're not at your best especially. I'm not surprised but obviously unhappy about the defeat.”

Paunovic on the lack of outlet up front in the second half...

“We miss players that can help the team in this type of game. It's pretty limited what we can do in terms of changing things but I also think we had a very good opportunity in the 47th minute (Puscas' chance) which would probably have been a big step forward for us to get all three points.

“You have to be ready for that but for me, the biggest thing was when we started to have issues in building out for the back and keeping the ball, we didn't have an alternative to that. That is how we encourage our team to play and that's how our team is selected but we have to find ways to deal with adversities like this defeat.”

Paunovic on the contrasting performances in each half

“That's why it's more difficult - the outcome - [to accept] because the first half was perfectly executed. We expected what was going to happen but the second half is a failure for all of us but we'll come back and we have to do it immediately.

“The main thing we have to work on is our mindset and mentality, and the rest will follow. We don't have too much time, but we do know this team is capable.

“I will encourage everyone to stay positive, acknowledge a big mistake but also remain positive because this is a long league, there's a long way to go for everyone and there will be some disappointments, but hopefully there will be much more joy and happiness.

“We'll work on the positives to create a positive future.”

Paunovic on Azeez's late penalty shout

“It could have been [a penalty] but I need to review the play. It's not easy for the referees, I understand that, but the mistakes against us in other games, like offsides against us, could have resulted in wins for us so that hurt but we can't do anything about it now. We hope everyone does their best, all who compete in the game.”

Paunovic on the reason for contrasting halves

“If you look at the first half there wasn't complacency, we were ruthless, determined and clinical.

“But in the second half, it could be [down to] fatigue. We have to remember this group is accumulating games and all the success we've had in the past month has been due to this group.

“Blackpool are a good team and they managed the second half very well. They were consistent, they never gave up and believed, and I saw a good group of players out there.”