The result didn’t go our way last night, but the main thing is that John Fleck is OK after collapsing during the match. A Jayden Bogle goal gave Sheffield United the points, in what was quite a lacklustre game. The Royals sit 17th, still two points off the relegation zone.
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
“Everyone knew this was a game of one goal or whoever scored first had more possibility of winning. Both teams were very flat, both first half and second half. When you look at the stats from the game and the scores from the other games – there were not many goals, a lot of 0-0s. And that tells you that this is a moment in the season that fatigue starts to build up.
“Early midweek games like this one, it can affect the quality of the game. There were not many shots on goal, not many attempts. It was difficult for both teams to play with the best possible technical output. We lacked freshness.
“We stayed patient. At half-time we said that this is a game of one action – one action is going to decide it. And for a moment we shut down, we lacked urgency in our defence and they scored that goal.
“It was a ‘who scores first, wins’ kind of game and we were just about to put Andy Carroll on when they scored the goal. When he came on the field, he lifted the team, gave us a boost in attack – but our crosses had to be better and more purposeful.
“The whole team has to play together more – as soon as possible – to find a cohesion again. Given the circumstances, we are bringing players back from injuries who now need to reconnect with the group who is already here.”
Paunovic on moving forward
“They need time on the field, they need match fitness, they need to find their form again. And in that respect, it is good we have a game on Saturday. A chance to refocus. And a fantastic chance to bring back the three points and build a new momentum.”
Paunovic on John Fleck
“The experience we all had today was dramatic and horrible. I’m happy that it seems he is ok and I hope John will return as soon as possible, in good shape and return to his normal life and his football career.
“It was a moment of struggle and uncertainty on the field. For him this will have been especially hard. We wish and his family support.
“It really affected everyone in the stadium, the fans, the players – which is normal. We are all human beings. And this is beyond football, the game we all love. This was a serious moment in our lives, especially his.
“Thank God that everyone reacted quickly and properly and that he is stable. We send him the best regards and our support and wish him a quick recovery.”