The Royals returned to action at the Select Car Leasing Stadium with Veljko Paunovic back in the dugout. Nottingham Forest were the visitors.
Danny Drinkwater returned to the side, with new signing Andy Carroll on the bench. It was a bad start though with Forest taking the lead in the fourth minute through Philip Zinckernagel. Carroll came on in the second half and inspired a fight back with Scott Dann grabbing the equaliser.
It’s been a tough week for the Royals with our points deduction. After picking up a point, the Royals sit 17th, just two points off the relegation area.
Here is what Veljko Paunovic had to say after the game, he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Paunovic on the game
“Without taking any credit away from Forest, I think we made it tough for ourselves – this is the second game in a row that we have conceded a very early avoidable goal. We have to look at how we start the games and how we start the second half as well, so we don’t put ourselves in a situation where we have to react, use more energy dealing with an extra adversity.
“We have to impose our plan and our way of playing from the first moment. We didn’t start the second half well either. But given all the circumstances, I think it was a fantastic output the players gave, a good impression we left with our fans to show how much we care, how much we are going to fight for the team.”
Paunovic on the performance as a whole
“We played some good football. We created some good opportunities. We have to be more clinical in the final third, in the final pass and the final product. And we have to be more ruthless.
“But after they scored the reaction was positive and we started to play our football. We fought back and the first half we ended like it was the end of the match – looking for the goal to level the game.
“And we just had to continue to do the same in the second half which we did it. We switched formation with Andy coming onto the pitch – he lifted the team and the fans.
“He showed his pedigree and the opposition had to adjust. He is a very good communicator and he helped the young lads around him. Playing for the first time with Puscas, he figured out very quickly how he can play with him and how together they can do a good job.
“So our game today could have been rewarded with three points if we’d had a little more clarity in the final third.”
Paunovic on Andy Carroll’s debut
“He brought a pedigree on the field, experience, fantastic leadership, he communicated with the guys around him and was capable of influencing them. He was very helpful and he gave a fantastic boost to our fans so that’s a cohesion we are looking to have and grow.
“As more players are coming back, more will add to that and I only see positives coming (from his signing).
“The only concern for us was how many minutes could he play. That is what we had to determine in training this week. He played 35 minutes and it worked very well. Individually, that’s now our main focus - getting him game fit and to learn more about the team.”
“The best game-fitness training is playing proper games so we expect in the next couple of games he will also get minutes and from there we will evaluate if he will be ready for a start.”